Mikel Arteta salutes ‘phenomenal’ Arsenal star after 3-2 victory over Liverpool FC
Mikel Arteta praised Gabriel Martinelli’s “phenomenal” improvement after he helped fire Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League table with a 3-2 win over Liverpool FC at The Emirates on Sunday.
The Brazilian attacker has been in excellent form this season and he gave Arsenal the lead against the Merseysiders after 58 seconds when he swept home Martin Odegaard’s low pass.
Arsenal were pegged back by Darwin Nunez’s equaliser in the 34th minute but the Gunners went in ahead at the break thanks to Bukayo Saka’s strike, with Martinelli the provider this time.
Liverpool FC equalised again in the 53rd minute thanks to Roberto Firmino’s smart finish, but Arsenal claimed the three points after Saka converted his penalty following a foul by Thiago Alcantara on Gabriel Jesus in the box.
Martinelli, 21, has been in eye-catching form for Arsenal so far this season and his goal and assist on Sunday means he has now netted four times and set up two goals in nine Premier League outings.
And speaking to Sky Sports after Sunday’s game, Arteta acknowledged that Martinelli has improved significantly from where he was last year.
“When you see where he is a year ago from when he played against Brentford to where he is today [it] is phenomenal but it is his desire to train hard every day,” said Arteta. “It is a nightmare to play against him and we know we have a real threat up front.”
Arteta also praised Saka for having the confidence to step up and convert his penalty and claim the three points for the north Londoners.
“He [Saka] practices every day but it’s different in training when we put him under pressure to here today but credit to the boy, especially with what happened a year ago,” Arteta added.
Meanwhile, Martinelli himself said that the belief amongst the Arsenal squad has been growing in recent weeks and that he and his team-mates are starting to feel like a “family”.
“It means a lot for us,” Martinelli said of the win over the Reds. “We have been working hard and we deserve the win and we need to keep going because the season is long and we want to achieve good things. We are running for each other and we are a family, everyone is on their toes and we deserved the win.
“It doesn’t matter your age, it’s your heart and how much you want to achieve in football and life. That is the most important thing. We need to believe and go game by game trying to win all of them.”
The win lifted Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League table and left them a point ahead of Manchester City, who travel to face Liverpool FC on Sunday. Arsenal, meanwhile, could be four points clear at the top by the time they kick off at Anfield, with the Gunners facing Leeds United away from home in the earlier afternoon game on Sunday.
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