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Arsenal 4-0 Standard Liege: Martinelli scores quick brace to maintain perfect start in Europa League

Not bad so far for someone whose best position is not a striker, according to Unai Emery.

And not bad for a £6million snip who not that much was expected of so soon following his summer arrival from Brazilian fourth tier side Ituano.

While £72m club record signing Nicolas Pepe has struggled to make an impact and Mesut Ozil is now struggling to get a game, Gabriel Martinelli is dishing out lessons in how to make yourself an instant fans’ favourite.

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after breaking the deadlock early on, sparking an attacking onslaught from the hosts

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after breaking the deadlock early on, sparking an attacking onslaught from the hosts

Kieran Tierney hugs Martinelli after the Brazilian got his head to the left-back's cross to make it 1-0 on the night

Kieran Tierney hugs Martinelli after the Brazilian got his head to the left-back’s cross to make it 1-0 on the night

The Brazilian teenager then doubled his and Arsenal's tally for the evening three minutes later with a curling effort

The Brazilian teenager then doubled his and Arsenal’s tally for the evening three minutes later with a curling effort

The 18-year-old watches as his shot curls into the net which doubles the lead for the Gunners on Thursday evening

The 18-year-old watches as his shot curls into the net which doubles the lead for the Gunners on Thursday evening

The promising striker points to the sky after scoring his brace in the space of three first-half minutes at the Emirates

The promising striker points to the sky after scoring his brace in the space of three first-half minutes at the Emirates

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS

ARSENAL: (4-3-3) Martinez 7.5; Bellerin 7, Mustafi 7, Holding 7, Tierney 8.5; Ceballos 7, Torreira 6.5, Willock 7.5 (Guendouzi 74); Maitland-Niles 6.5 (Pepe 65, 6), Martinelli 9, Nelson 8 (Aubameyang 80)

SUBS NOT USED: Leno (GK); Chambers, Kolasinac, Xhaka

GOALS: Martinelli (13, 16), Willock (22), Ceballos (57)

BOOKINGS: Bellerin (86)

COACH: Unai Emery 8

STANDARD LIEGE: (4-4-2) Milinkovic-Savic 6; Vojvoda 6, Vanheusden 5, Laifis 5, Gavory 5; Boljevic 5 (Carcela 58, 5), Bastien 5, Cimirot 5, Mpoku 6; Lestienne 5 (Amallah 80), Emond 4.5 (Avenatti 74, 6)

SUBS NOT USED: Bodart (GK); Goreux, Lavelee, Fai

GOALS: None

BOOKINGS: M’Poku (41), Vojvoda (86)

COACH: Michel Preud’homme 4

REFEREE: Sandro Scharer (Switzerland)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)

VENUE: The Emirates Stadium

ATTENDANCE: TBA

The 18 year-old forward may only have done so in two of the lesser competitions but the exciting Brazilian can only work with the opportunities he has been given. How he has taken them.

So well in fact that by half time last night his Wikipedia page had been excitedly edited to describe him as the lovechild of two of Brazil’s all-time greats, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

After two goals on his full debut against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, Martinelli scored another brace against Standard Liege to set Arsenal on their way to a second Europa League group stage win and become the youngest player to score a European brace for the club.

Two games, four goals, some start from the scampering South American who married an impressive work-rate with clinical finishing against Belgium’s second-best side.

There was a clever assist too from Martinelli to give Dani Ceballos a tap-in to open his account and Joe Willock also struck as Arsenal racked up another comprehensive Group F win.

For Emery’s side it is now two games, two wins, seven goals and six points – a start to their Europa League campaign as encouraging as Martinelli’s start to his Arsenal career.

Emery made 10 changes to the side he picked to start Monday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United, with Lucas Torreira the only player pressed into action from the off again.  

Joe Willock then made it 3-0 just six minutes later when he fortunately picked up a blocked shot inside the area

Joe Willock then made it 3-0 just six minutes later when he fortunately picked up a blocked shot inside the area

Willock composed himself before sliding his shot past Milinkovic-Savic in the Standard Liege goal to make it 3-0

Willock composed himself before sliding his shot past Milinkovic-Savic in the Standard Liege goal to make it 3-0

The 20-year-old Englishman slides on his knees after scoring Arsenal's third goal of the night in a brilliant half for the hosts

The 20-year-old Englishman slides on his knees after scoring Arsenal’s third goal of the night in a brilliant half for the hosts

But, in a damning indictment, there was still no place for Ozil despite all the alterations and the German not being injured.

Missing league games and being deemed not physical enough for certain away matches, as was the case last season, is one thing.

Not even making the bench for a Europa League home tie when Emery is ringing the changes is another, ominous thing altogether.

His absence last night followed his omission from Arsenal’s Group F opening win at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Emery claimed Ozil, Arsenal’s £350,000-per-week top earner, was being rested in Germany a fortnight ago despite playing just 71 minutes. His absence would not be so easy to explain away this time. 

Hector Bellerin, named in Arsenal’s new captaincy group last week, led Arsenal out on his first start since his return from the serious knee injury he suffered against Chelsea in January.

Arsenal fans got another look at Martinelli after his eye-catching debut against Nottingham Forest and would have liked the more that they saw against Liege.

First, and not for the only time during the night, came a display of his work rate, which will endear any player to supporters, as he hassled the dozing Gojko Cimirot to set up a chance Joe Willock could not quite take.

Dani Ceballos latched on to a Martinelli cross to make it 4-0 to the Gunners in the second half on Thursday evening

Dani Ceballos latched on to a Martinelli cross to make it 4-0 to the Gunners in the second half on Thursday evening

Martinelli showed off a burst of pace to beat his man to the byline before putting in a brilliant cross for Ceballos to get on

Martinelli showed off a burst of pace to beat his man to the byline before putting in a brilliant cross for Ceballos to get on

The Real Madrid loanee celebrates scoring for Arsenal in their Europa League clash with Standard Liege

The Real Madrid loanee celebrates scoring for Arsenal in their Europa League clash with Standard Liege

Ceballos celebrates with the home supporters as his Arsenal team-mates join him in after he makes in 4-0

Ceballos celebrates with the home supporters as his Arsenal team-mates join him in after he makes in 4-0

Then came two displays of expert finishing. His first was a brilliantly taken header from Kieran Tierney’s cross which was preceded by some excellent movement to confuse his marker Zinho Vanheusden and earn the space he found himself in to direct the ball into the top corner.

Two minutes later and Martinelli had another Arsenal double to his name. Reiss Nelson did well to keep the ball in and drive to the byline before crossing.

This time Martinelli got to the ball before Vanhesuden again, sorted his feet and spun onto his favoured right, before flashing a clinical finish past Liege goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, who was once on Manchester United’s books. 

Liege hardly had time to gather themselves before they almost shipped a third only for Willock to volley Tierney’s latest left-wing delivery over.

The midfielder did not have to wait long for another Europa League goal having also struck against Frankfurt.

Tierney and Nelson continued to trouble Liege down the left and when the latter’s shot pinballed to Willock, it was his turn to control and fire past Milinkovic-Savic.

Twenty two minutes gone and 3-0 up. Already Arsenal’s second group stage victory looked to be in the bag. Especially as Liege posed such little threat themselves.

Before Martinelli and Willock took over Bellerin had to be well-placed to clear after Kostas Laifis beat Emiliano Martinez to a corner. Martinez only had one save to make from Nicolas Gavory too but that was just a routine one at his near post.

Willock had the chance to make it 3-0 before getting his first of the game but he couldn't keep his shot down

Willock had the chance to make it 3-0 before getting his first of the game but he couldn’t keep his shot down

Arsenal believe they should've been awarded a penalty after Vanja Milinkovic-Savic brought down Reiss Nelson (right)

Arsenal believe they should’ve been awarded a penalty after Vanja Milinkovic-Savic brought down Reiss Nelson (right)

The half should have ended with a penalty when Nelson brought down after being put through by that man Martinelli but Swiss referee Sandro Scharer took pity on Liege and awarded a corner instead. 

Scharer seemed only to be delaying the inevitable. Hat-trick-hunting Martinelli was back at the heart of things at the start of the second half.

He was inches away from finding the top corner with a near carbon copy effort of his second goal against Forest.

Then he could not quite stretch far enough to turn in Nelson’s cross. Inevitably, he was involved when Arsenal’s finally made it four, as creator rather than scorer.

Martinelli burst onto Ainsley Maitland-Nile’s clever pass through to the byline and his chipped cross cleared Milinkovic-Savic leaving Ceballos with the simple task of stabbing in from less than a yard out.

Former Tottenham man Paul-Jose M'Poku is shown the yellow card for a foul on Willock during the first half

Former Tottenham man Paul-Jose M’Poku is shown the yellow card for a foul on Willock during the first half

Meanwhile Martinez was determined to hang onto his maintain his 100 per cent clean sheet record and pushed over a rising drive from former Tottenham youngster Paul-Jose Mpoku after a slip from Maitland-Niles.

Martinelli was then denied a third once again by Milinkovic-Savic’s shovelling save.

A morale-boosting cameo from Pepe would have topped off the night so Emery threw him on off the bench with 25 minutes to go.

Pepe did almost get a goal following a cross from – you guessed it – Martinelli before Bellerin fired the rebound wide.

Pepe will have to wait to truly announce himself after scoring just a penalty for Arsenal so far. Instead, this was Martinelli’s night, again.

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7535059/Arsenal-4-0-Standard-Liege-Martinelli-scores-quick-brace-maintain-perfect-start-Europa-League.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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