The Brazilian became the first teenager since Nicolas Anelka to score 10 goals in a season for the Gunners as he found the net against Chelsea
Hector Bellerin says Gabriel Martinelli’s attitude is what makes him so special and admits there are “not many” teenagers in world football like the Brazilian.
Martinelli added to his growing reputation with a remarkable solo goal to help 10-man Arsenal to an excellent 2-2 draw at fourth-placed Chelsea on Tuesday night.
A rapid counter-attack just after the hour mark saw Martinelli race the length of the Stamford Bridge pitch before calmly slotting a finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga to cancel out Jorginho’s first-half penalty.
And although Chelsea went on to restore their lead through Cesar Azpilicueta, a late equaliser from Hector Bellerin ensured Arsenal travelled home from west London with a well-earned point.
It was a fine performance from the Gunners, who played for more than an hour with 10 men, and as he has done so many times already this season, it was Martinelli who grabbed the headlines with his individual strike.
The 18-year-old, signed from Brazilian state side Ituano last summer, has now become the first teenager to score 10 goals in a season for Arsenal since Nicolas Anelka in the 1998-99 campaign.
He has undoubtedly been one of the finds of the season and Bellerin believes the young forward’s success is down to the way he has handled himself since arriving in England six months ago.
“To be fair there are not many,” said the Spaniard, when quizzed on the last time he had seen an 18-year-old as impressive as Martinelli.
“A lot of people talk about his talent, but what people don’t see is that Gabi is a professional. He turns up early every day. He does all the stuff and everything anyone asks him to do.
“He is the first player to press and the last player to leave everything on the pitch. The goals are just a plus.
“He helps us in every single way and the thing that everyone needs to praise him for is his attitude. That is what makes him a player.”
Bellerin added: “He is obviously really young in his career – so many things can happen – but if he keeps his head where it is right now, he is going to go really far for sure.”
Arsenal’s draw at Stamford Bridge means they have now lost just one of their first six league games under Mikel Arteta.
And the fact that it was achieved while playing with 10 men for more than an hour, and with a back four that included Granit Xhaka as a makeshift centre-back alongside Shkodran Mustafi and Bukayo Saka at left-back, made it all the more impressive.
On a personal note, it was a big night for Bellerin – whose crucial late strike came almost a year to the day after he sustained the cruciate ligament injury which ruled him out of action for nine months.
But it was the manner of the performance, rather than the equaliser, that particularly pleased the Gunners right-back.
“Obviously I am very happy with the goal,” he said. “But what truly made me happy was seeing everyone really defending with heart, with spirit and playing for each other after losing a man in the early moments of the game.
“It is really difficult to get back into the game twice, especially at a place like Stamford Bridge. That is what really made me happy.”
Bellerin added: “I think one of the most important things is to believe in the manager. I think we have all realised that if we play the way he tells us to play we will do great things and everyone is really motivated.
“Everyone is playing for each other, everyone is running. You could see that in the last 10, 15 minutes of the game – we had 10 players in our box defending for their lives.
“That is what it is about. Sometimes that is the way to win games.”