Gabriel Martinelli insists he doesn’t mind where Mikel Arteta plays him, he just wants to do what he can to help the team.
There’s often a debate among Arsenal fans about Gabriel Martinelli’s best position, with the Brazilian international occasionally impressing at centre-forward but generally playing in a wide role for Mikel Arteta’s side.
The recent injuries to Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah have thrust that debate back to the fore, with Gabriel Jesus still not fully fit.
Arteta is likely to use either Martinelli or Emile Smith Rowe up front on Thursday night, as he did after Trossard’s substitution at the weekend.
Speaking about the possibility of playing in a central role on Thursday, Martinelli suggested he doesn’t much mind either way.
“If I’m the number nine or on the wing, I always try to do my best and help the team by scoring or getting an assist,” Martinelli said.
“It’s up to Mikel – wherever he decides to play me, I’ll play. If the team need me I’d play as a goalkeeper! We play for Arsenal and everyone has this responsibility.”
As well as the question of which player is best suited to the centre-forward position, there’s also the complication of the Fulham game in a few days’ time.
Even if Arteta believes Martinelli is his best option centrally in the absence of his three first-choice strikers, he may want to rotate Smith Rowe in for one of the two games to avoid burning the Brazilian out.
Then again, Martinelli hasn’t been called up for the March international break with Brazil. Arteta and the Arsenal medical team may judge that he can handle a few games in a row before having a break towards the end of the month.
Thursday’s team news announcement will certainly be one to keep an eye on, giving us our first hint on Arteta’s plan for the next fortnight.