Arsenal interim boss Freddie Ljungberg has hailed Gabriel Martinelli after the Gunners’ 3-1 win over West Ham United on Monday, after the youngster impressed during his first Premier League start. The Brazilian scored Arsenal’s opening goal of the game, and worked tirelessly down the left-hand side of attack.
Ljungberg admitted that Martinelli brought a smile to his face after a frustrating first 45 minutes at the London Stadium.
His constant energy and lack of fear was praised by the Arsenal legend, who described Martinelli as a “fantastic” player for the Gunners.
Martinelli scored with a fine finish in the 60th minute, to kickstart Arsenal’s revival in east London.
Despite being a goal down at half-time, a flurry of goals within 10 minutes helped the Gunners to record their first win in the league since October 6.
The 18-year-old has continued his superb form for Arsenal, after he was signed from Ituano in July, for £6million.
Martinelli has scored a goal in every 86 minutes on average, in his Gunners career.
He’s scored three goals in four Europa League appearances, as well as four goals in two Carabao Cup matches.
Martinelli’s goal against West Ham on Monday was his first in the Premier League, having only featured as a substitute in seven league matches this season.
The Brazilian became Arsenal’s fourth-youngest ever scorer in the Premier League, at 18 years and 174 days old.
Ljungberg said he wanted to add more energy into the team after the home defeat to Brighton in last week.
After impressing in the Europa League, Martinelli deserved his place in the starting XI, he said.
But, it meant that striker Alexandre Lacazette was dropped to the bench.
“We want to get the energy into the team and shake things up a bit,” Ljungberg told Sky Sports.
“He has done very well in Europa League games, looks dangerous, scores goals and works hard.
“He runs in behind, he’s really quick, and I think he will do well.”
Next up for Arsenal is a trip to Standard Liege in the Europa League, before they host champions Manchester City on Sunday (4.30pm).