Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli was removed from Tuesday’s Carabao Cup match against Manchester City with an ankle problem, a bitter blow for a player who only just returned from a long-term knee injury.
The 19-year-old assisted Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser in the first half but just before the break, he was involved in a collision with City goalkeeper Zack Steffen that left him writhing in pain on the ground.
Joe Willock picked out Martinelli with a through-ball but Steffen came far off his line to make a sliding clearance, catching the Brazilian’s ankle in the process.
Martinelli eventually returned to the match but was clearly in some pain as the half-time whistle sounded.
The striker started the second half but was quickly back on the ground, signalling he was unable to continue and was replaced by Nicolas Pepe. City would go on to score three in the second half in a 4-1 victory.
The Gunners will now face a nervous wait on Martinelli, who was making his first start for the club since March after only just returning from a knee injury.
Martinelli made his mark in 2019-20, his debut campaign with Arsenal, scoring 10 goals in all competitions after joining the Gunners from Ituano in his native Brazil.
The teenager’s debut season came to an end in March, though, after he suffered a serious knee injury in training.
Martinelli was still rewarded in the summer when he signed a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium, which will reportedly keep him at the club until 2024.
After making his return for the club’s youth team, Martinelli made his season debut for Arsenal at the weekend when he played 19 minutes off the bench in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Everton.
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta admitted that his struggling side have missed Martinelli this season.
“Gabi is pure enthusiasm, energy, belief, charisma and goals. And this is him,” Arteta said ahead of Arsenal’s match against Everton.
“He’s around the training ground and he’s around our training sessions and the energy is different because he goes 100 miles per hour.
“He’s got this passion in his way of playing and he is a threat. He’s a player that we’ve been missing because he brings something special to the team.”