Gabriel Martinelli not dropped from Arsenal team due to lack of form, claims Mikel Arteta

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has insisted he rested Gabriel Martinelli from his starting line-up for Arsenal’s win at Aston Villa.

There were calls for the Brazilian forward to be dropped for Saturday’s game having started 2023 without a goal - a run he put to bed with a late strike off the bench to cap the 4-2 victory.

Leandro Trossard was picked to start but made little impresson before being taken off for Martinelli 22 minutes from the end.

Coming off the bench ended the 21-year-old’s run of starting every Premier League game of the campaign so far, which Arteta has put down as the ultimate reason why Martinelli was left out at Villa Park.

He told reporters: “It wasn’t dropping him - he’s played every single minute.

“We have three 21-year-olds leading the frontline - that’s unheard of.

“Leo’s been doing really well and we needed impact.

“I was really worried about the last 20 or 25 minutes in this game because of everything we put in on Wednesday. We needed energy and I think [Martinelli provided] it.”