Jesus, Martinelli must do their talking on the field – Arteta

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Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal forwards Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli to do their talking on the pitch amid limited starting opportunities as Arsenal continue their pursuit of the Premier League title.

Both Jesus and Martinelli have found themselves out of Arteta’s starting line-up in recent weeks with Leandro Trossard, Kai Havertz and Bukayo Saka emerging as his preferred frontline.

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Asked by ESPN Brasil if the pair were frustrated by the existing pecking order, Arteta said: “I think there are two parts. One, they’re happy because of where we are as a team and what we’re fighting for. And another, because now they want to play, everyone wants to play.

“Everyone who doesn’t play everything wants to play more. But that’s my decision and what I feel at each time.

“Both of them have been super important this season, and will also be these two remaining games and this is what this is about, when you have the moment you have to talk on the field and you have to say it on the field.”

Jesus’ future at the club has been in question as the Brazil international has struggled with knee problems since undergoing surgery for an injury sustained at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He underwent a second minor operation in January and admitted last month he couldn’t “remember the last day I played football without pain.”

In his news conference last Friday, Arteta said the club has no intention of allowing Jesus to leave, and he told ESPN Brasil that injury was the primary reason he hasn’t featured more this season.

“The thing is that he has played a lot here. With me, he played a lot,” Arteta said. “And with me he has been very, very important. And it’s true that when he hasn’t played it was first because something has happened before and almost always that thing that has happened before has been an injury that has lost his momentum, and then the team has jumped and that must also be respected.

“But this is about showing out again and regaining his place, and that’s what’s important.”

Sources told ESPN after Arsenal’s Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich that the north London side had expedited its search for a new striker which would only serve to increase the level of competition for both Jesus and Martinelli.

Jesus has scored four Premier League goals this term to go with five assists in 25 appearances, while Martinelli has managed six goals and four assists in 33 league games.

Arteta also spoke to ESPN Brasil about the need to be ruthless as a manager at the elite level of professional football.

“There is the professional part, where in the end you have to play as far as a player achieves a level, or we think he will continue to achieve a certain level or what the team needs,” he said.

“And there you have to be pragmatic, that’s not personal, that’s the player side, and there you have to be pragmatic and in my work I have to make those decisions.”

Arsenal travel to Manchester United in their penultimate Premier League fixture of the season on Sunday. They are top of the league as it stands, though Manchester City are just a point behind and have a game in hand — to be played against Arteta’s team’s fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur next week.

“It’s always a very difficult place to go,” Arteta said of the United clash. “One of the most beautiful places in this country for playing football. And we already know, if we want to win this Premier League, we have to go there and we have to win.”

Arsenal have won just once at Old Trafford since 2006 but take on Erik ten Hag’s team as they face an injury crisis off the back of a humbling 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday.

Information from ESPN’s James Olley contributed to this report.

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