Mikel Arteta urged to take Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli out of the firing line after Southampton draw


    Mikel Arteta's Arsenal dropped points at Southampton
    Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal dropped points at Southampton (Picture: Getty)

    Mikel Arteta has been urged to take Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli out of the firing line after the Premier League draw with Southampton.

    League leaders Arsenal dropped two points on Saturday as Stuart Armstrong’s second-half goal cancelled out Granit Xhaka’s early opener at St Mary’s.

    The Gunners were not at their fluent best against lowly Southampton and dropped points for only the second time of the season.

    Aston Villa hero Gabriel Agbonlahor believes Arsenal need to start thinking about rotating their squad and has suggested Martinelli could be rested for one of the Gunners’ upcoming fixtures.

    Martinelli has featured in all 15 of Arsenal’s games this season, starting every Premier League match.

    ‘Now it’s coming to the stage where a bit more rotation is needed,’ Agbonlahor told Football Insider. ‘Does Martinelli have a rest and you bring in [Fabio] Vieira or Marquinhos?

    ‘You need to rest certain players because they are going to suffer from burnout. They haven’t looked as sharp.

    Southampton held the Premier League leaders at St Mary's
    Southampton held the Premier League leaders at St Mary’s (Picture: Getty)

    ‘Everyone keeps saying they are going to fall off but they are not going anywhere. For me, they finish in the top two this season, I don’t think they are going to win the league because I think Man City will beat them twice.

    ‘Apart from Man City, I feel they are capable of beating the teams around them. When they play Man United at the Emirates they will beat them. They won’t be scared of beating Liverpool at the Emirates.

    ‘Arsenal are going to be up there, they are not going anywhere.’

    Arteta, meanwhile, expressed his disappointment at Arsenal’s finishing after Southampton held the Premier League leaders to a 1-1 draw.

    He said: ‘We had three or four good opportunities and should have scored more. We needed two or three goals, but only scored one.

    ‘It’s disappointing. We created enough chances but couldn’t put the ball away.

    ‘It’s a lesson because we wanted to win again. They put us under more pressure through direct play in the second half, and we were struggling.’

    Arsenal, who remain top of the Premier League, travel to Europa League rivals PSV on Thursday night and return to domestic action on Sunday against Nottingham Forest.

    MORE : Gabriel Jesus warns Arsenal teammates after Southampton draw

    MORE : Mikel Arteta praises ‘really impressive’ Arsenal star after Saints draw

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