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“It’s as simple as that.”

Martin Keown is of the opinion that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta “doesn’t like” Gunners forward Gabriel Martinelli. Keown has also admitted to being “concerned” over the Brazilian’s lack of game time.

Martinelli made a return from a long-term injury in December but has struggled to feature regularly in the team despite the Gunners’ poor performances in recent weeks.

gabriel martinelli


Arsenal endured a disappointing night against Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday.

The Gunners fell to a 2-1 defeat against Unai Emery‘s team. Villarreal scored two goals in the first half courtesy of Manuel Trigueros and Raul Albiol.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Dani Ceballos was shown a red card, leaving Arsenal with 10 men with over half an hour still to play in the game.

However, Arteta’s side scored a crucial away goal after Nicolas Pepe slotted in a penalty kick. The match eventually finished at 2-1, handing Villarreal the aggregate lead ahead of the second leg next week.

Arsenal Villareal

Keown on Martinelli.

Martinelli made an appearance against Villarreal on Thursday night when he came on in place of Martin Odegaard in the 63rd minute.

The 19-year-old forward has started just five games in the Premier League this season and Keown believes that Arteta “doesn’t like” the Brazilian.

“I’ve been concerned as to why that player is not playing,” Keown told BT Sport.

“Because the manager doesn’t like him. It’s as simple as that.

gabriel martinelli

“I’m not there every day, I’m not on the training ground. I thought it was very interesting Odegaard had gone internationally and said ‘this is the best young player I’ve ever seen’ and he’s from Real Madrid!

“So now it’s time to let him fly. Let’s look at the positives. Let’s support him. When he came into the team I thought he did a great job. Not only was he making runs down the middle but he was coming back.

“He was like a Duracell battery. Keep him in the team. Play him. You’ve seen what you’ve done with Smith Rowe and Saka. Support him.”

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