Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton has offered some selection advice to Mikel Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s big game against Villarreal in the semi-final of the Europa League tonight.
Unai Emery has built a side who are very difficult to beat. However, there are weaknesses in Villarreal that Arsenal can exploit, and Sutton has identified one after watching Barcelona beat them last weekend.
Antoine Griezmann started up top alongside Lionel Messi and the Frenchman’s curved run completely bamboozled Villarreal. He scored the equaliser just two minutes after the hosts took the lead, and Sutton believes Arteta can use the same blueprint.
The BBC pundit has claimed that Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli can do exactly what Griezmann did last weekend. With Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both struggling for fitness, Sutton wants the Brazilian to get the nod up front tonight.
He wrote in his column on The Daily Mail: “There is space to exploit behind this Villarreal backline. A ball over the top and a curved run from Antoine Griezmann was how Barcelona equalised against them in LaLiga last week. That’s a job made for Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli.
“Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are struggling to be fit for this semi-final first leg, so I’d like to see the 19-year-old Brazilian in the centre-forward position.”
The Insider’s View:
All of us would love to see Martinelli start up front, but Arteta has always been hesitant. The Arsenal boss had the chance to use him against Everton last weekend, but he chose Eddie Nketiah over him, and it’s hard to imagine that’ll change tonight.
Arteta confirmed yesterday that both Laca and Auba are in contention to return for the game this evening. That reduces Martinelli’s chances of starting even more, but he shouldn’t be disheartened.
We all know how good he is and it’s only a matter of time before he gets a cosnistent run of games. However, it is extremely unlikely that he’ll get the nod from the start against his former boss’ side tonight.