Ian Wright was left doubting Mikel Arteta towards the end of Arsenal’s win over Liverpool, but the Gunners boss proved him wrong as his side hauled themselves back into the title race
Ian Wright has admitted that Mikel Arteta’s decision to bring off Gabriel Martinelli for Leandro Trossard made him eat his words.
Martinelli had starred for Arsenal during the clash with Liverpool, scoring his side’s second goal to put them back in front. But just seven minutes after he rolled the ball in following a defensive mix-up, Martinelli was brought off by boss Arteta.
In his place, the Gunners manager sent on Trossard, in a move that left Wright surprised. But the Belgian proved the Arsenal legend wrong when he scored a crucial third goal with three minutes remaining.
A brilliant piece of skill got Trossard past Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott before he slotted a shot through Alisson’s legs thanks to a deflection off Virgil van Dijk. And though he had originally criticised the move to bring off Martinelli, Wright was left hailing his replacement.
“I was very surprised and confused. But then Trossard scores and so I had to eat my words. Humble pie is in the house and ready to go,” Wright told Premier League Productions.
“Great play from him. What we want from Martinelli is getting beyond, I don’t think we were getting enough of that. And so he’s [Trossard] done that and he’s created that for himself. What you have to say in this respect, I was very confused with the substitution.
“Simply because he [Martinelli] was doing so well and he’s the one that breaks them like this. But he [Trossard] gets a bit of luck here because it comes off of Virgil and deflects in. But it was exactly what was needed simply because you just felt even with 10 men there would be nervousness.
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“So you need that second goal. And like the manager said, we had been creating chances, not been taking them too many times, but if you can take those chances you can be more comfortable and that’s what happened in this game in the end.”
Though Arteta brought off Martinelli, the Gunners boss was full of praise for the Brazilian. He insisted that the winger was a “real threat” before coming off, as he also hailed Kai Havertz, Jorginho and Trossard.
“I think he looks again really confident, really sharp, he was a real threat today not only for the goal that he scored and how intuitive and cheeky and streetwise he was to do what he did but as well Leo,” Arteta said.
“I think Kai was unbelievable playing as a nine, it was a game that I thought he was going to fit in the same way Jorgi, you need big performances to beat this kind of team, I think all of them were at their best today.
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“It was an extraordinary game, I think it was an incredible performance from the players and our people, the atmosphere that we generated in the stadium is the best I’ve seen this season, we demanded that.
“We had to go to a different level and connect it again to the demands that this league has in every game and they have responded in an unbelievable way and I think the players left absolutely everything, they put their heart and soul into every ball.”
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