Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has come under fire from fans for his handling of Gabriel Martinelli’s return.
Martinelli was handed his first start since knee surgery in the Carabao Cup against Manchester City and was a bright spark in the first half.
He provided the assist for Alexandre Lacazette to level the scores only to suffer an injury concern just before half-time.
Martinelli collided with onrushing Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen and required lengthy treatment on an injury to his shin.
He was moving gingerly as he limped back onto the field and continued until half-time.
Many expected him to be removed at the break but he continued, only to pull up moments into the second half and limp off.
He was eventually replaced by Nicolas Pepe – but Arsenal fans were furious with Arteta for failing to protect top prospect Martinelli by taking him off as a precaution at half-time.
They pointed to Arteta forcing Thomas Partey back on against Tottenham as he pulled up with an injury and David Luiz playing on with a head injury after his collision with Raul Jimenez against Wolves.
One fan accused Arteta’s handling of Martinelli of being a “sackable offence” with another adding “the incompetence of Arteta is staggering”.
Another said: “Clear neglect from Arteta to even let Martinelli back on” whilst others felt it “shows how desperate he is” with pressure on his job mounting.
A further fan wrote: “Arteta’s man management is so bad, the way he handled David Luiz’s head injury I ain’t even surprised he threw Martinelli back on despite his shin bleeding & needing stitching, just to make the injury worse.”
Another added: “Arteta has blood on his hands. Destroyed Partey and now has done the same to Martinelli. He should be thrown out just for that alone.”
Speaking about Martinelli ahead of the game, Arteta said: “We will see. He’s only played 45 minutes with the Under-23s and his first competitive game at the level, it was against Everton, 25 or so.
“Let’s see how he copes with it, but he’s full of passion and energy, you know him, and I think he will add something different to the squad.”
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