Mikel Arteta singles out Gabriel Martinelli for praise after Arsenal draw with Sheffield United

Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 18, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Gabriel Martinelli scored Arsenal’s goal in a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta singled out Gabriel Martinelli for praise after the Arsenal youngster scored his first Premier League goal at the Emirates in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Sheffield United.

In the absence of suspended skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was serving the first game of his three match ban, the Brazilian teenager scored his ninth goal of an increasingly impressive debut season in England.

‘He’s an 18-year-old kid with all the enthusiasm but as well, he’s so brave to make decisions, to threaten the opponent every time,’ said Arteta afterwards.

‘He’s all the time in the middle of the goal, waiting for an opportunity to come.

‘The fact he hasn’t played 90 minutes for a while – since his injury – but is still in the way he went about every single action is impressive.’

John Fleck scored Sheffield United's equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Arsenal
John Fleck scored Sheffield United’s equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal’s hopes of only a second league win under their new head coach were dashed when John Fleck struck a deflected equaliser eight minutes from time.

‘I’m very disappointed today,’ Arteta added. ‘I think the performance deserved three points and I think we lost two points.

‘In the Premier League, if you don’t put the game to bed then in the last 10 or 15 minutes this type of team just need a long ball, a second ball, a set-piece, and you can give the points away. That’s it.’

‘There’s a history of [nerves in the stadium]. It makes it even more. In the Premier League we are 1-0 up and in the last 10 or 15 minutes you have to be careful, because anything can happen.

‘I don’t know what was done before. I think they tried to do the best possible thing. I inherited a team that was in a difficult situation and we’re trying to improve it as much as possible.

‘I don’t know. In the second half, Sheffield United didn’t generate any efforts on goal – it’s just one long ball, a second ball and then someone put it top bins from an incredible angle. It’s difficult to control it.’

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