Keown heaps praise on Martinelli after Arsenal's draw with Chelsea

‘He has the club in the palm of his hands… show me another 18-year-old in Europe doing this?’: Martin Keown heaps praise on Gabriel Martinelli after Brazilian inspired Arsenal’s fightback against Chelsea with stunning solo goal

  • Gabriel Martinelli starred for Arsenal as they fought for a draw away at Chelsea
  • The 18-year-old was picked out by Martin Keown for praise following the match
  • Keown says Martinelli is ‘the future’ and ‘has the club in the palm of his hands’ 
  • He got Arsenal back in the game finishing off a sublime 67-yard counter-attack 
  • Martinelli is the first Arsenal teenager since 1998-99 to reach a tally of 10 goals 

Martin Keown lavished praise on Arsenal’s teenage striker Gabriel Martinelli and insists the young Brazilian now has the club ‘in the palm of his hands’ after his display against Chelsea.  

Arsenal were rocked early on when they were reduced to 10 men but they responded impressively and it was Martinelli who was the shining light, scoring a superb first equaliser and leading by example despite being the youngest player on the pitch. 

For Keown, Arsenal’s future is to be built around Martinelli and his ‘outstanding’ performance against Chelsea is evidence that, for his age, he is among the best teenagers in European football right now.  

Gabriel Martinelli was the star for Arsenal as he inspired comeback away against Chelsea

The 18-year-old (middle) was picked out for special praise given his important contribution

Former Arsenal centre back Martin Keown believes that Martinelli is the ‘future’ of Arsenal

‘That young man, he has the club in the palm of his hands,’ Keown said. 

‘He can take it wherever he wants. He was the youngest player on the pitch out there for Arsenal and he showed the experienced players how it was done. I was here in ’99 when Kanu scored three goals and that looked dead and buried tonight when they were 1-0 down.

‘He really is absolutely outstanding. He was certain he was going to put it away (his goal). 

‘His instinct for goal, his movement off the ball, show me another 18-year-old in Europe doing this? Manchester United had him on trial and didn’t take him… that raises questions.’

He produced a 67-yard counter-attack before slotting in for 1-1 to show a high level of maturity

Keown (right) questioned whether there was a better teenager in Europe performing like him

Fellow BT Sport pundits Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand were also effusive in their praise of the young Brazilian and for former Chelsea winger Cole, he feels this Martinelli-inspired performance can ‘galvanise’ the club moving forward. 

His strike took him to 10 goals for the season, making him the first Arsenal teenager to reach that figure since Nicolas Anelka back in 1998-99.  

‘You feel like this could galvanise the whole club, the spirit was unbelievable,’ he added. ‘Massive, massive player for Arsenal and I have seen him twice now, great player.

‘I think Arteta has something in his team. I think he gets them back in, shows them Martinelli’s movement, and say this is the standard for Arsenal Football Club. 

‘I still don’t think they are capable of getting in the Champions League, that’s gone, but they need to build for the future. The new Arsenal.’

Martinelli looked like he may be sacrificed after David Luiz’s early red card but Arteta persisted with him and his work-rate, as well as his equalising goal to make it 1-1, vindicated the decision to keep him on. 

For Ferdinand, the teenager’s performance was a lesson to his peers.   

Fans in the away end were in full voice for Martinelli after his sublime skill for the equaliser

He worked tirelessly at Stamford Bridge and was hailed as an example to the older players

‘Brings kids down here and get them to watch someone like him,’ the former Manchester United centre back said. 

‘He is showing that desire that other young kids, you need to see that. You play where you can get in the team then you show your quality. It is refreshing.’

Martinelli’s goal came from a Chelsea corner and after the ball was headed clear, the Brazilian broke clear two-on-one. 

As N’Golo Kante, usually so reliable for Chelsea, slipped, Martinelli continued his 67-yard burst before showing a coolness way beyond his years to slot into the bottom corner past Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

Chelsea thought they had nicked a winner when Cesar Azpilicueta poked past Bernd Leno in the 84th minute, only for Hector Bellerin to level it up with a stunning finish three minutes later. 

For Arsenal icon Keown, this was a defining night for Arteta’s young group of players.  

The performance on Tuesday can ‘galvanise’ Arsenal moving forward, according to Joe Cole

Mikel Arteta was pleased with the response he got from his players after going down to 10 men

‘You watch that team tonight and you are seeing the future,’ he added. ‘Martinelli, his goal, the passion, the spirit, we have been waiting for this for a long time. 

‘Chelsea didn’t really press them and Arsenal dominated for large periods. The Martinelli goal, that encapsulates the newfound spirit that is now with Arsenal.’ 

The draw keeps Arsenal in 10th, 10 points adrift of Chelsea in fourth as attention now turns to the weekend FA Cup action. 

Arsenal make the trip to the south coast to face Bournemouth while a disappointed Chelsea travel to face Championship side Hull City.  




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