Gabriel Martinelli – Player Report

Player profile:

  • Name: Gabriel Teodoro Martinelli Silva
  • Date of birth: 18-06-2001
  • Place of birth: Guarulhos, Brazil
  • Height: 1.80 M
  • Preferred position: striker
  • Other positions: left-winger and right-winger
  • Contract expires: 30-06-2024
  • Previous club: Ituano

Playing style Arsenal

As an overview of Arsenal’s tactics, in possession, they play a system where both wingers are allowed to cut inside, which means that the fullbacks are given the license to make overlapping runs. Arsenal prefers to build-up via both wings, which means that the centre-forward does not participate in the build-up play at all. Later, this will be explained more.

In the games against Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, Mesut Özil and Gabriel Martinelli were tasked to be the front two when pressing the opposition, meaning Arsenal played in a 4-4-2 formation out of possession. Arsenal also play with a high defensive line, with the midfield and the attack staying close to each other.

Analysis playing style Gabriel Martinelli

All stats are through WhoScored, and only stats of Martinelli in the Europa League are used.

Positioning Gabriel Martinelli

The first goal of Gabriel Martinelli against Standard Liège is the perfect example for the playing style of the Brazilian forward. Starting in the centre of the pitch, he spots that Mustafi is playing a long pass to Reiss Nelson. As a result, Martinelli makes a diagonal run to create an extra option for Reiss Nelson and he positions himself in the half spaces. Gabriel Martinelli hesitates, and makes a last-minute run coming from behind the defender to come in front of the defender which leads to him scoring a very good header.

This pattern comes back very often, and he scored four of the six goals (in these three matches, vs. Liverpool/Nottingham Forest/Standard Liège) making a run to the front post and scoring.

His off the ball movement

There is one thing that stood out for me, when I was watching the Arsenal games for Gabriel Martinelli. He is very sharp and alert in putting pressure on the opponent. He anticipates very well, and is very explosive which means that he can close gaps very quickly. Often, the defenders make mistakes because of the striker’s pressing, and this leads to chances for Arsenal, as well as winning back possession consistently.

In the Europa League, in which he started four out of five matches, Gabriel Martinelli averages 5.6 tackles per 90 minutes. 3.3 of those tackles were succesful, which means that 59% of his tackles were succesful. His sharpness leads to Martinelli committing fouls as well. Martinelli committed 1.3 fouls per 90 minutes in the Europa League. At last, Martinelli blocks 1.0 passes per 90 minutes in the Europa League as well.

When his stats are compared to his competitors (Alexandre Lacazette & Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang), it can be said that Martinelli makes the most tackles by far. He is not the most effective tackler as Lacazette has a better percentage, but Martinelli is three times more successful in tackling than Lacazette.

Two examples (both examples lead to a chance for Arsenal):

Dribbling, flexibility and skills

The Brazilian attacker has a past in playing futsal, and this has helped him massively. He is able to keep the ball very close to his feet when he runs at full pace, which also allows him to twist and turn. When there is less space for him, Martinelli can keep the ball close very well, whilst he uses his body to keep the defender away.

Gabriel Martinelli averages 3.1 dribbles per 90 minutes, and 1.5 of those dribbles are succesful. This means that in total 50% of his dribbles were succesful. In comparison to other strikers in the Premier League:

When Martinelli is compared to other strikers in the Premier League, it can be said that Martinelli is one of the best dribbling-wise. Only Agüero and Rashford perform better in dribbling than the young Brazilian.

Involvement in the build-up play

Gabriel Martinelli is not involved in the build-up play. A lot of attacking movements come from both wings, whereas Martinelli stays in the centre of the field, awaiting a through pass or a cross to the front post. For example, in the match against Standard Liège, Martinelli only had 39 touches. However, 15 out of 39 touches were in the box.

Image via WhoScored.

Gabriel Martinelli averages 18.7 passes in 90 minutes (in the Europa League). This makes it even more remarkable that Gabriel Martinelli makes 1.8 key passes per 90 minutes. Martinelli is not included much in the build-up play, but when he is included it normally ends well for Arsenal.

Aerial duels

Gabriel Martinelli has struggled through the air in the Premier League, but in the Europa League he has been very good through the air. In the Premier League, Gabriel Martinelli has lost 4.5 out of 5.8 aerial duels, while in the Europa League, Gabriel Martinelli only lost 1.0 out of 2.6 aerial duels. Besides that, Martinelli scored 2 out of 3 goals in the Europa League with his head. Martinelli comes up against big, physical defenders more often in the Premier League than in the Europa League which could be an explanation.


So far, Gabriel Martinelli has had a big impact for Arsenal in every match that he started. He is an enormous talent, and will have his breakthrough year in 2020. It feels like a matter of time before he will be a regular starter for Arsenal in the Premier League, and the future is looking bright for young Brazilian striker.

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