Arsenal’s comfortable win over Standard Liege this evening saw a number of the club’s stars impress, with Unai Emery having been handed a selection headache for his side’s next outing, versus Bournemouth.
Arsenal run riot
The north Londoners welcomed Liege to the Emirates a short time ago, for their 2nd Europa League outing of the campaign.
Arsenal’s opener saw them run out 3-0 winners at Eintracht Frankfurt, after an enthralling 90 minutes which, for long periods, looked as though it could have gone either way.
The outcome of tonight’s clash, on the other hand, was all but decided inside the opening quarter of an hour.
A blistering start on the part of the hosts eventually resulted in youngster Gabriel Martinelli finding the net twice in the space of just 2 minutes.
The Gunners’ summer signing first found the far corner of the away side’s net with a superb deft header, before showcasing his all-round game with a sharp turn and pinpoint side-footed finish.
131 – There were just 131 seconds between Gabriel Martinelli’s first two goals for Arsenal in this match. Ruthless. #UEL
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 3, 2019
Joe Willock then put the result beyond any form of doubt just past the 20-minute mark, with a controlled strike of his own.
The second-half saw Arsenal continue to dominate, eventually leading to Dani Ceballos putting some gloss on the scoreline with his first goal for the club from a couple of yards out.
On the back of the capital outfit’s impressive showing, one player in particular has since grabbed the majority of the headlines.
The individual in question is Gabriel Martinelli, after the Brazilian dazzled in just his 2nd competitive start for the club.
As outlined above, 18-year-old Martinelli notched a brace versus Liege, as he did in the League Cup against Nottingham Forest last week.
The South American talent also set up Dani Ceballos for Arsenal’s 4th with a gorgeous dinked cross.
You can’t keep Martinelli out of this game!
He sets Dani Ceballos up beautifully for his first Arsenal goal 🔴 pic.twitter.com/W54SmuKS3Y
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 3, 2019
Despite his tender years, Martinelli already looks a genuine star in the making.
The youngster appears to possess all of the desirable traits of a modern centre-forward, combining touch, stature, poise, pace, the ability to beat opposing defenders at will and, perhaps most-significantly of all, a real eye for goal.
Martinelli’s two finishes tonight were of the highest quality, with the former Ituano man having led the line in the fashion of a hitman far beyond his years, before also impressing after being switched to the left-hand side for the game’s closing 20 minutes.
Of all of Arsenal’s summer additions, the prodigious Brazilian’s went most under the radar, but, if his early form in the colours of the Gunners is anything to go by, then Martinelli could end up proving an absolute steal.
Arsenal stars stake starting claims
The goal-scoring prodigy, though, was far from the only individual to have thoroughly-impressed for the hosts this evening.
While it is unlikely that Unai Emery will consider handing Martinelli a start over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this weekend, some of the others to have starred for Arsenal certainly staked their respective claims for a spot in the Gunners XI to face Bournemouth.
While Standard Liege were, in truth, absolutely dire throughout the 90 minutes, Emery’s men made it extremely difficult for the Belgian giants with an excellent display.
Key to this, aside from Martinelli, were the trio of Kieran Tierney, Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos.
Left-back Tierney was making just his 2nd start of the season, after struggling with injury over the early weeks of his Arsenal career.
However, the Scot proved exactly why Unai Emery had pushed so hard to secure his signature with his performance this evening.
Tierney was absolutely electric up and down the home side’s left flank, looking solid in his (admittedly-limited) defending, and proving a constant threat going forward with his marauding runs and pinpoint deliveries.
One of these crosses, meanwhile, teed up Martinelli for the game’s opener:
That @KieranTierney1 assist for Martinelli’s first goal! 😍
📺 Watch live on BT Sport 2 in the UK 🇬🇧
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 3, 2019
Now that he appears close to full fitness, Tierney looks a lock to take over starting duties from Sead Kolasinac in the near future.
Elsewhere, in the middle of the park, Arsenal’s trio of Lucas Torreira, Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock looked superb.
The drive provided by the latter from deep proved exactly what had been missing from the north Londoners’ showing at Old Trafford on Monday night.
Willock looked dangerous every time he picked the ball up, bursting forward with pace and intent throughout the 90 minutes, and capping his fine display with a goal.
Ceballos, meanwhile, took a more measured approach, pulling the strings in the Arsenal midfield with typical Spanish class.
The Real Madrid loanee also got on the score-sheet, with a perfectly-timed burst into the Liege box just shy of the hour mark.
It should almost go without saying, but the trio of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, which took to the pitch versus Manchester United this week, should not be playing together all at once.
It sets a negative tone, and one of Willock or Ceballos, with their attacking intent, needs to be included in Unai Emery’s midfield 3 on a weekly basis.
As such, on the back of their side’s convincing victory this evening, Arsenal’s fans will no doubt be hopeful of at least two of the aforementioned midfield pair, and Kieran Tierney, being deservedly rewarded with starts in the club’s next outing versus Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon.