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Arteta hints at a problem between two Arsenal stars

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The Gunners boss discussed the relationship between Martinelli and Tierney following the victory over Newcastle.

Mikel Arteta has implied there could be a slight issue in terms of the link-up play between Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Tierney.

The Arsenal manager noted how Granit Xhaka filling in as a makeshift left-back has benefitted Martinelli. Perhaps more so than first-choice left-back Tierney, who has missed the club’s last seven games with a knee injury.

Martinelli, of course, impressed in the 2-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. The 19-year-old was a regular threat down the left and set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decisive second goal.

Quizzed on whether Aubameyang has the right connection with Martinelli in a post-match conference, Arteta replied: “Yeah, it is a connection there.

“I think having Granit behind him helps him in a way because he’s more in the line, in the last line, on the left when he is more comfortable.

“With Kieran, it’s a little different. Those relationships we have to feel.”

Questions have been raised over Arteta’s treatment of Martinelli recently. Despite impressing on his return from injury, the Brazilian has struggled to win favor under the Gunners boss.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown even claimed Arteta ‘doesn’t like’ Martinelli after leaving the forward out of the lineup in last week’s 2-1 first-leg defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals.

“Just look at how much he’s played in the last two years and then how much he’s played with me when he’s been available,” said Arteta. “And then we can discuss that.

“But it happens. This debate is always happening when you don’t win. If it is not him, it will be someone else. If it’s not Gabi, it will be Lacazette, if it’s not him it will be Willian, or Pepe. So it’s part of it.”