I hope everyone had a good international break and is ready to get back to the regular schedule of League play. Today we will look at Gabriel Martinelli in the main section, look at the match odds for week 31 in the Premier League and links.
Gabriel Martinelli was able to make his senior debut for Brazil and flashed a moment of skill that makes me so excited for him.
It is these moments of... I don't know what the right words are here, determination to score? Yeah lets go with that, it is in these moments where he is so determined to score that you can see that he is something special.
It isn't that other players can't do this, they can and do, but Martinelli strikes me as a player that has the extra little bit to push from very good player to potential superstar talent. Let us spend some time looking at his stats:
His radar and crab cake look pretty good. His attacking numbers are all very good (that the determination to score stuff really kicking in), especially his shots and shot quality.
Looking at the stats dashboard below matches most of what I have seen with my eyes this year.
His ability to get shots is his greatest strength, his ability on the ball has really improved with his carrying looking especially impressive this season. His ability to find space to receive balls has gotten much better and his ability to hold on to the ball (with his more grown-up physique) has really taken a step forward.
I am a little surprised that his pressures come in as below average but I still think that is an area that he has gotten better at, maybe that is down to picking his spots rather than pressing every time regardless of the shape behind him.
His passing and creating are still a work in progress but he does seem to be in the mold of trying high risk/high reward passes. That might be a nice balance to some of the other players on Arsenal who might not be quite as inclined to try a low probability homerun pass.
One of the things that I think could see him really take the next step is pushing the areas where he receives the ball a bit closer to the goal. Below is a map of the open play areas where he received passes.
Right now the vast majority of the passes are on the edge of the final third and in rather wide locations. In an ideal world, the big red hot spot is about 10-15 yards closer to the goal where his determination to score can really shine.
This might take either a change to a more center forward type role or Arsenal making a change to the left eight who can facilitate more to him closer to goal. If he can start closer to the goal, I can only dream about what his production might look like because what he has been able to do now is already impressive.
To end this here is his radar since he broke into the Arsenal first team.
Premier League Simulation Week 31
These match weeks interrupted with international breaks always feel long, and it is made even worse for Arsenal fans having to wait through a full weekend to then have the match on Monday Night Football.
This match week features some of the biggest lopsided odds that I can remember for a while with the top three teams are playing teams 15th or lower (and means that I won't be in a rush to wake up on Saturday). We probably won't see dropped points there but if there is it will have some big ripples in the odds going forward.
There is a full slate of 7am (3pm) kickoffs, with the most interesting to me being Leeds vs Southampton. Leeds have played okay under new manager Jesse Marsch, with two wins and three good performances in four matches. This will also be a matchup between two members of the Red Bull coaching tree.
The 9:30am kickoff between Manchester United and Leicester is one that will have a bearing on the European places. United are still in the hunt for top-four but they are needing to pick up some points and anything less than a win here probably dooms them.
Sunday features another match of interest for Arsenal, with Spurs playing a resurgent Newcastle United. Newcastle have been an impressive team over the last couple of months rating as the 7th best team over the last 2.5 months. They have done this on the back of a strong defense (0.7 goals allowed) and just enough attack. This on the spreadsheet looks like a difficult matchup for Spurs who probably shouldn't be able to counterattack their way to big chances.
Finally ending the week is the London Derby of Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
Crystal Palace have been impressive this year and this is a tricky fixture for Arsenal. In the home fixture, Arsenal jumped out early but then got too passive with Palace able to capitalize on mistakes before rescuing a late point. Hopefully, Arsenal will be able to put together a complete performance in this one because this is the start of a tough April schedule.
This is probably old news at this point but I might as well express my unpopular opinion here as well. Arsenal's 2022/23 kits have been leaked and while they seem very popular with my Twitter thread I think that generally black kits for teams that don't have a historical tie to that color is lazy. It falls into the realm of well, we tried everything else let's just make it black because people like that. Aesthetically they look good, but it doesn't look "Arsenal" and could be any other random team.
I take back everything I said above, I will gladly have generic over this mailed in template design.
I make predictions every month and did some for April.
For premium subscribers, I did my monthly review of Arsenal's players on loan.
For premium subscribers, I wrote up a striker shopping list for Arsenal using stats. 50 plus names with ratings, over 4,000 words and 30+ graphics packs.
Grace Robertson takes a stab at picking the England team. She puts three Arsenal players in the 23 and I can't really disagree too much with any of her picks here.
Thank you for reading.