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Gabriel Martinelli very nearly produced one of the greatest assists in Premier League history against Liverpool on Wednesday night.
The Gunners' impressive recent unbeaten run came to an end as second half goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino saw Liverpool close the gap between them and leaders Manchester City to just one point.
But Martinelli was a joy to watch in the 2-0 defeat at the Emirates, purring on the left hand side of Arsenal's attack.
Martinelli will be a world class player.— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 16, 2022
Gabriel Martinelli's game by numbers vs. Liverpool:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 16, 2022
100% take-on success
6 touches in the opp. box
6 x possession won
4 passes into the opp. box
4 duels won
3 take-ons completed
1 chance created
Jürgen Klopp was right. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/xsLzYZUVAn
The 20-year-old has developed into one of the most exciting talents in world football and he gave Trent Alexander-Arnold a torrid time.
And one passage of play in the second half showcased the special talents Martinelli has in his locker.
He rinsed THREE Liverpool players, including captain Jordan Henderson and Alexander-Arnold, in an insane solo run down the left flank.
It looked like there was nowhere to go for Arsenal's No.35 but his slick footwork saw him jink in and out of challenges.
Henderson got destroyed with a filthy nutmeg before Alexander-Arnold came across. He too was left in the dust though, thanks to the ultra quick feet of Martinelli in the tightest of spaces near the byline.
Martinelli looked for Martin Odegaard on the cut-back by Andy Robertson was on hand to clear the ball and avert any danger.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is quite the fan and has regularly talked up Martinelli's abilities.
After recent meetings between Arsenal and Liverpool, he's branded the former Ituano starlet "the talent of the century" and "an outstanding player".
This time around, Klopp praised defender Alexander-Arnold for his display against Martinelli and called out anyone who believes he cannot defend.
Klopp said: "Trent [Alexander-Arnold] did exceptionally well against Gabriel Martinelli. If anybody tells me Trent can’t defend, I’ll knock them down. I don’t know what the boy has to do anymore."
🗣 "Martinelli is such a talented boy. It's really tricky, if anybody says Trent can't defend, they should come to me I'll knock them down."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 16, 2022
Jurgen Klopp praises the defensive performance of Trent Alexander-Arnold against Gabriel Martinelli pic.twitter.com/eb59WME2ZK
Arsenal paid a reported £6 million to sign Martinelli in 2019 and despite a spell out following knee surgery, he's scored 17 times in 74 appearances for the North London club.
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