Girona FC played CD Tenerife away from home in the second leg of the La Liga promotion final and won 3-1 to get promoted after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. Their manager Míchel used a 3-5-2 formation in this match and constantly pushed forward using their wingbacks, Valery Fernández and Arnau Martinez, to work the ball inside to the centre forward and support striker up front, Cristhian Stuani and Álex Baena. There was an urgency to their attack knowing this was the last game of the campaign regardless of the result. His squad pressed and held possession against a Tenerife side content with sitting back on defence. Girona broke down Tenerife, gaining a decisive two goal lead in the second half and silenced the Tenerife supporters. The Girona press proved too much for an equally fatigued Tenerife side, and the Catalan club proved that they wanted it more.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Spanish
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 25/04/2003
- Club: Girona FC
- Career: FC Barcelona (Y), Hospitalet (Y), Girona FC
- Position: Right Wingback
- Preferred foot: Right
- Other Positions: Right Back, Center Back
Arnau Martinez played right wingback for Girona FC in this match and scored one of three goals while dominating the right flank before being subbed off in the first of nine minutes of stoppage time. He stood out amongst grown men at only 19 on the biggest stage in Spain outside of La Liga. Martinez is tall for a full back and has a lanky build. Add long strides with great pace, footwork and physicality to the mix, too, and there is an athletic beast waiting for the opposition’s left winger, and his talent does not stop there.
On the offensive end, Martinez was a dribbling machine and had excellent ball control. He was almost a lock every time he was on the ball in the opponent’s half to dribble past his defender. He delivered plenty of accurate passes and looked composed while doing so. Martinez was always looking ahead to create for his teammates, attempting dangerous passes into the box. Off the ball, his movement was great, as he consistently found space to make smart runs through for his teammates to find him. On his goal scoring play, Martinez used one of these intelligent runs to get under the ball on a set piece and tapped the ball in off a volley from the back post past the keeper Juan Soriano. Additionally, he utilized his weaker left foot and did not stray away from it.
Even on defence, Martinez was a nuisance for Tenerife. He played with great anticipation on the right, making a few interceptions while stepping up in front of opponents. When the ball got into the box in his area, Martinez would find a way to make a timely clearance to ease the pressure. On Tenerife’s lone goal, Martinez was caught out of position and lost his marker, the goal scorer. He cannot be assessed too much blame there, though, as there had just been a turnover in play. Other than that, he did a good job of staying ahead of attackers and disrupting their possession.
Rating – A1
Arnau Martinez is a dynamic threat both offensively and defensively while operating on the right flank. If Girona had not been promoted in this match, La Liga 2 would have been too low a level for him to play at next season. He should stay with Girona next season and continue to build on this strong campaign, as this match showed he is more than ready for the challenge. But if a big club needing a full back like Barcelona or Atletico Madrid come calling, it would not surprise me.