Arsenal: Has Arteta found a winning formula for Gunners?
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta should leave Gabriel Martinelli out of his starting XI against West Brom tonight, according to former Chelsea and Aston Villa striker Tony Cascarino. Martinelli has started Arsenal’s last three matches in all competitions after spending six months on the sidelines with a knee injury. The Brazilian is yet to complete 90 minutes since his return.
Arsenal have won their last two matches in the Premier League following a run of seven without a win in the top flight.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned from injury for the 1-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday, though it was substitute Alexandre Lacazette who produced the goods with the later winner on the south coast.
Aubameyang was off the pace at the Amex and missed a couple of good opportunities but Cascarino thinks Arteta should stick with his star man.
Cascarino would bring Lacazette back into the starting XI, with Martinelli dropping to the bench.
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“When you’ve invested so much in a player [Aubameyang], and he’s proven so much in his career, it’s very hard not to support him in a difficult time,” Cascarino said on talkSPORT.
“I would play him left side in front of [Kieran] Tierney, Tierney has been absolutely terrific for Arsenal this season.
“If it’s been [Bukayo] Saka in front of Tierney, if it’s been Aubameyang, if it’s been Martinelli, they’ve all played really well, and that’s because of Tierney.
“I think it suits [Aubameyang] more, the left side, than the centre-forward position.
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“I would probably play Saka on the right and play Lacazette down the middle, because I do think Lacazette, especially against Chelsea, he looked really hungry, an angry forward that’s got a lot to prove.
“I think you’re going to need that today. I’d probably go Aubameyang, Lacazette and Saka on the right.
“Martinelli would be very unlucky because he’s put in two very good performances.”
Cascarino says competition for places is good for Arteta, with players breathing down the necks of the regular starters.
He added: “That’s what Arteta would want. Good problems, you want people playing well, you want people fighting for the shirt to be in your team.
“You want to be able to say ‘if you don’t play particularly well and you’re not doing, and someone else is doing it, he’s going into my team’. I think that’s a fair line to go.
“I would still stay with Aubameyang, you’ve put a hell of a lot of investment into him.
“I think he knows himself he’s not been quite right, I think that’s been quite clear.
“First 45 minutes at Brighton he hardly got a kick as the centre-forward, he played far better second half as a winger when Lacazette came on.”
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