Mikel Arteta admits he does not read what fans say as he does not want to be distracted.

Sheffield, England, 11th April 2021. Oliver Burke of Sheffield Utd tussles with Granit Xhaka of Arsenal during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Sheffield, England, 11th April 2021. Oliver Burke of Sheffield Utd tussles with Granit Xhaka of Arsenal during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

On Sunday against Sheffield United, Arsenal fans were delighted to see Gabriel Martinelli finally handed a start for the club after such a long time stuck on the bench.

Since returning from his knee injury, Martinelli has started just three games for Arsenal and only two in the Premier League before his start at Bramall Lane. Needless to say, with Arsenal struggling in front of goal, Arsenal fans were impatient to see the 19-year-old given a chance after his incredible first season in England.

But it didn’t come. Not only that, we rarely got to see Martinelli from the bench in games. Outside of his two starts, Martinelli had seen just 120 minutes of Premier League action from the bench across 14 games prior to Sunday.

But with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ruled out through illness, Martinelli was handed his chance and, as we have already come to expect from the teenager, he grabbed it with both feet, finishing the game with a rating of 7.9, the third highest in the Arsenal team for the game.

First up, Arteta was asked if he was happy with the Brazilian’s performance. “Yes, I am [delighted], the manager replied.

“I’m asking you to be patient because we have a lot of players who are 19/20-years-old and if you compare where we are with them with other Premier League clubs, then we’re at the top end. It’s not common.

“Gabi has the right path and the right development. He’s got an agreeable attitude and talent and he’s got all of his future in front of him. We have to manage that and try to give him the right amount of minutes and the games for him to develop and continue to get better.”

Arteta was then asked about the fans urging him to start Martinelli. “I’m not aware because I don’t want to read that because I don’t want anything affecting me,” Arteta said.

“What is affecting me is what I see every day, how he is, all the staff and what are our opinions are,  and how we want him to develop.”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.