Arsenal legend Ian Wright admits he was ‘very surprised’ by Mikel Arteta’s decision to bench Gabriel Martinelli against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Brazil international winger was left out of the starting XI and only came on after 69 minutes, replacing goalscorer Leandro Trossard.
Despite only being on the pitch for around 20 minutes, Martinelli scored twice in the space of a minute as the Gunners went on to record a thumping 5-0 victory.
Arsenal boss Arteta was quizzed about his decision to bench Martinelli and revealed that he wanted to give Trossard a chance to impress.
‘[Trossard] deserves it,’ Arteta said. ‘Obviously we need some energy and freshness in the frontline with that short turnaround. He has plenty of experience in this league.’
Wright, meanwhile, speaking to Premier League Productions after the 5-0 win for his former club, said: ‘When you get someone like Gabriel Martinelli in that much space, the line was so high, I was very surprised he didn’t start.
‘I’m quite pleased he came on and made the impact he did. [His first goal is] a very good finish. Very accurate. Brilliant, superb.
‘[With the second goal] Palace are all over the place, the midfield is nowhere near it, look at how much space he has got. Can he finish? Yeah, he can.
‘You’ve got to take advantage when teams are playing poorly like Palace were. You can really punish these teams.’
Martinelli has registered a total of four goals and two assists across 19 Premier League games for Arsenal so far this season.