Mikel Arteta has revealed Gabriel Martinelli asked to start Arsenal’s impressive victory over Crystal Palace just three days after his Europa League penalty heartbreak.
Martinelli missed the decisive spot-kick as Premier League leaders Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night.
The Brazilian winger was named in Arsenal’s starting line-up for the visit of Palace on Sunday and produced the perfect response, putting the hosts in front midway through the first half.
It was Martinelli’s sixth goal in six league matches and Arsenal doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time through Bukayo Saka.
Granit Xhaka added a third for the Gunners before Crystal Palace – who sacked Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira on Friday – got a goal back through Jeffrey Schlupp.
But Arsenal were not to be denied a victory that sends them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of the international break and Saka scored his second of the afternoon 10 minutes after Palace’s consolation goal.
Arteta hailed Martinelli’s response to his penalty miss in the Europa League and says the Brazilian asked to start against Crystal Palace in training.
‘The reaction he had after missing a penalty was great,’ Arteta said. ‘There is always the question, but I asked him yesterday how he was and he said: “I want to be in the team”.’
On Arsenal’s 4-1 win as a whole, Arteta added: ‘The desire and the energy that we put in right from the beginning impressed me most. We were really determined and focused and left Thursday in the past.
‘After playing 120 minutes, they have to come back here and do it again against a team with a lot of needs.
‘Crystal Palace have not got the results lately but they have be very tough to beat. But we were dominant and deserved to win the game. Today, in the box when we had those openings, we defined the game in the right way.’
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