Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews the Brighton game
Match of the Day pundit Shay Given noticed Brighton pair Moises Caicedo and Kaoru Mitoma ‘sort of high-fived’ each other after Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli was left stricken. Seagulls midfielder Caicedo had clattered into the Brazilian just minutes after Martinelli was lucky to avoid a red card for clashing with Mitoma.
Arsenal’s small Premier League title hopes were derailed thanks to a 3-0 defeat by Brighton on Sunday. But there were two flashpoints in quick succession during a feisty first-half, leaving Martinelli walking out of the Emirates Stadium in a protective boot.
First, the Arsenal attacker appeared to lead with his elbow as he challenged Mitoma for a high ball. Despite connecting strongly with the side of the Japan international’s head, no action was taken against Martinelli.
Just minutes later, Caicedo – who was the subject of a January bid by Arsenal – clattered into the Gunners star, forcing him to leave the pitch with what appeared to be a nasty injury. Former Premier League goalkeeper Given noticed that the Ecuadorian ‘high-fived’ team-mate Mitoma after the incident.
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“You can just see here they sort of high five each other and sort of say ‘you got him back here’ because I think that first challenge was nasty,” Given said on Match of the Day 2.
Martinelli was later seen in a protective boot. With just two games remaining this season, there is a strong chance that the 21-year-old’s campaign is over.
“We don’t know. He’s in a boot at the moment,” Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said when asked about the severity of the injury. “It was very uncomfortable for him to walk, he couldn’t carry on playing – so obviously we need to scan him and see the extent of that injury.”
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Brighton became just the second away team to win at the Emirates this season, storming to a thumping 3-0 victory. Goals by Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan all but ended Arsenal’s title hopes, with Manchester City now four points ahead of the Gunners and having a game in hand.
Arteta reflected: “A really different feeling to the feeling that we all had last Sunday when we felt proud and we felt that we really did what we needed to win in certain moments. Today is completely the opposite. We have to apologise to our people, especially for the second half.
“At the moment it’s just frustration. The feeling that we gave the game away second half. We fought really hard to be in the position that we are in. Today we were in a critical moment to keep hoping for that dream.”
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