Sunday, April 21, 2024

Martinelli’s World Cup dream comes true

Morning all.

The World Cup is just around the corner, and squads are being announced. From an Arsenal perspective, we’ve seen Takehiro Tomiyasu named for Japan, despite the fact he picked up an injury in our win over FC Zurich last week. That’s obviously a worry, but the Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu said:

I hear it’s possible for him to return before the start of the tournament.

Good news for him. After the injury issues he suffered last season, it’d be a real shame on a personal level if he missed out on the World Cup. Especially as he’s started to play a bit more regularly this season, even if it it’s in a position which causes a lot of pre-game discussion when the team line-ups are released!

Meanwhile, two of Arsenal’s three Gabriels will be going. Jesus always felt like a certainty, and it was reported yesterday that Martinelli and Magalhaes would miss out. However, when the squad was announced Martinelli was in it. Brazil coach Tite said:

We like Martinelli’s aggressiveness. He’s one of the top players at Arsenal, the first placed in the Premier League. He’s good on 1v1, very rapid in transitions, he’s been keeping a good level.

As fans, there’s a tendency for us to want our players wrapped in cotton wool, and rested so they’re fresh and ready for the Arsenal. But the flip side of that is how someone like Martinelli can benefit from going to the World Cup. It’s not easy to leave aside all the other stuff around this tournament, and as it goes on highlighting those issues will be necessary for those of us talking and writing about it, but in this specific context, there are very obviously footballing benefits for a young player like him.

Back in the summer, he talked on Wrighty’s House about how this was basically his dream, telling Ian and Musa Okwonga:

It means a lot. I’m trying to do everything to go to the World Cup. Since I was seven, when I started playing football, my dad told me ‘When you turn 21, we will have the World Cup and you are going!’

Every single day he was like ‘2022, hard work!’

Well, that hard work has paid off. His form and consistency so far this season have been spot on, and you can’t argue against his selection. For a young player to make a World Cup squad is something special for them, and ultimately Arsenal should benefit from this as he gains experience and confidence from being part of the biggest football tournament in the World. How much he plays remains to be seen, but given what he’s done for us this season, you wouldn’t bet against him making a contribution or two along the way.

As for Big Gabi, there must be some disappointment for him. There’s been a lot of talk about William Saliba this season, for very obvious reasons, and Gabriel has been in the spotlight too. There have been a few mistakes, but maybe not enough is said about how strong his partnership with Saliba is. I can’t say I know enough about the centre-halves that have been picked to know if Gabriel’s omission should be deemed harsh, but with his two mates going, he’s bound to feel a bit sad. If we worry about players who are going, I think we also need to consider those who aren’t – especially if they feel they’ve missed out.

Speaking of missing out, I still cannot get my head around the idea that Ben White might not be selected for England. I don’t think there’s been a better English defender in the Premier League this season, and for a manager to ignore form because his game-plan is wedded to gigantic lumps like Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings – both of whom have been very poor this season when they’ve played – just doesn’t make any sense.

Obviously, as an Irish man I’m not going to get too stressed about what an England manager does, but as the president of the Ben White Official Fan Club of Ben White, I’m taking it quite personally. In seriousness though, it’s ridiculous. He is such a good player, still vastly underrated by far too many people who would like you to think they know anything about football, and in my opinion Gareth Southgate would be completely mad not to pick him. But hey, let’s see.

Finally for today, you might have heard this on the Arsecast Extra, but the official Goodly Morning mug is now on sale. We’ve been asked often for merchandise, so here it is. I think there are two sizes you can choose from, and all the profits from these sales will go to charity. Seeing as it’s nearing Christmas, we’re going to give the money to Great Ormond Street Hospital, and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children here in Dublin who do amazing work for those kids and their families.

I know that shipping etc is a bit steep from some locations, and I’ll see if I can do something about that, but every penny made will go to those hospitals. You can gets yours here:

Also, as we are heading towards that festive period, remember that you can support fellow Arsenal fans who have their own businesses. Now more than ever, small businesses need your support, so if you’re looking for a gift or a service, maybe there’s a fellow Gooner who has what you need. Have a look at to see if there’s something there for you.

Right, if you haven’t had a chance to listen already, the Arsecast Extra is below, while over on Patreon we continue our Premier League round series ‘The 30’, looking back at all the weekend’s action. Have a good one.


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