Arsenal supporters have voted Gabriel Martinelli the Player of the Month for January. The Brazilian attacker scored two goals and tallied an assist in five appearances last month. He picked up 49% of the vote with, interestingly, Granit Xhaka in second place at 31%. Even though Arsenal were unbeaten in January, it was a month low on highlights. The Gunners scored just 9 goals on their way to a 3-3-0 record.
While Martinelli’s attacking exploits deservedly get the bulk of the attention, he also has a high defensive workrate and pressures defenders well. He racked up 14 ball recoveries in January, which is an important skill to have in Mikel Arteta’s pressing schemes.
I’d bet Martinelli won mostly on the strength of his goal against Chelsea, which is fine by me, fair play to him and the voters. He ran 65+ yards on the ball, beyond a slipping N’Golo Kante, and coolly slotted past Kepa Arrizabalaga on the breakaway to draw the 10-man Gunners level. It was a goal that belied his age, a goal for a seasoned pro, not an 18-year old rookie. He gets added style points for the Mbappé celebration, especially since he found the TV camera and posed right in front of it. He looked like an absolute boss.
It’s Martinelli’s second time being named player of the month. He was also named for October, when he burst onto the scene, scoring five and notching an assist in just over 300 minutes of playing time. Make sure you check out the minute long video of Gabi’s January highlights posted on the Arsenal.com announcement page, it’s worth the (very) short amount of time.