Arsenal ace Gabriel Martinelli won’t get same special treatment given to Cristiano Ronaldo

Arsenal launch 2022/23 home kit

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Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli will not be able to sport his new shirt number next time out against Everton, despite the Gunners’ plan to flaunt their new home kit on the final day. Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo was given special dispensation by Premier League chiefs earlier in the season as Edinson Cavani was allowed to vacate the number 7. 

Martinelli will be one of the big winners out of Arsenal’s shirt number shake-up as he prepares to ditch No 35 and sport No 11. The shirt’s previous occupier, Lucas Torreira, is set to leave for good this summer and Mikel Arteta is seemingly keen to reward Martinelli for his prominent role in the squad. 

The Brazilian has become a regular fixture in the Gunners’ attack and could be in line to start against Everton on Sunday. The north London side are set to flaunt their new 2022/23 home kit, but Martinelli will not be allowed to switch numbers early. 

Premier League rules clearly state that ‘While [someone] remains with the Club a Player will retain his shirt number throughout the Season for which it was allocated’.

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There have been exceptions to the rule, however. Earlier in the season, Premier League chiefs granted special dispensation for Cavani to vacate his No 7 shirt so that club legend Ronaldo could take it back. 

With just one game of the season remaining, it seems unlikely that Arsenal will put time and effort into launching a similar request. Instead, Martinelli will be given one more game to sport No 35, which has brought him 10 goal involvements in the Premier League this campaign. 

Once the switch is made next term, the 20-year-old will follow in the footsteps of Robin van Persie, Mesut Ozil and Marc Overmars – all of whom have worn No 11 in the past. 

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Fretting about shirt numbers is likely to be fairly low down on Arteta’s priority list as their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League hangs in the balance. Consecutive defeats against Tottenham and Newcastle United – both to nil – have left Spurs in the drivers’ seat with just one match remaining. 

The Gunners now need relegated Norwich City to come up with an unlikely victory over their north London rivals on the final day if Arteta and co are to stand any chance of finishing fourth. Having to settle for a Europa League spot will feel like a kick in the teeth for many Arsenal fans, given that a lack of European football this campaign gave them a huge chance to pour all their effort into winning the top-four race.

The boss will be keen to see a huge improvement on Sunday after his side were slammed for their lacklustre performance at St James’ Park last time out. Arteta ranted: “Normally, I can sit here and I can defend, but what we’ve done today, it’s not easy. We knew [the significance of the game] but we didn’t cope with it.”

Everton secured their Premier League safety against Crystal Palace on Thursday night, so the pressure will be off for their trip to the Emirates.  

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