Martinelli: the youngster who scored on his debut

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Today’s feature….

On this day one year ago Gabriel Martinelli scored for Arsenal in his first outing – a game against Colorado Rapids.   Various clubs had got to Martinelli before Arsenal hunted him down, and he had a trial with Manchester United, who had with his club Ituano which allowed him to train there each year for four years.

But Man U showed no interest and on 2 July 2019 he signed with Arsenal.  As he held an Italian passport and the UK was at that time still a member of the EU, he was able to play immediately. 

Martinelli made his Premier League debut on 11 August 2019 in a 1–0 win against Newcastle United, coming on in the 84th minute as a substitute for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and on 24 September, scored twice on his first competitive start for Arsenal in a 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.

He made his second start for Arsenal in a 4–0 home win over Standard Liege and scored another two.  In the League Cup 4th round he scored another two against Liverpool and became the highest-scoring teenager for a top-five European league club, with seven goals in seven appearances in all competitions and he became Arsenal ‘Player of the Month’ award for October, receiving 75% of the total votes cast, ahead of Matteo Guendouzi.  By the time of his injury in 2020 he had played 26 times for Arsenal and scored ten goals.

The anniversaries

15 July 1946: Cyril Grant joined from Lincoln and was seen as a possible replacement for Ted Drake.  He was one of 18 players newly recruited to the club for the first post-war season, but as with many others, was not a success.

15 July 1953: Freddie Cox sold to WBA for £3500.  In 1956 he moved to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic of the Third Division (South) as manager and in 1957 oversaw their Cup victories against Wolverhampton and Tottenham before losing finally to Manchester United.

15 July 1979 John Hollins joined from QPR.  He played initially for Chelsea (including a spell as captain) and in 12 years knocked up 436 appearances including 167 consecutive games, before having four seasons at QPR.  After that he moved to Arsenal aged 33.

15 July 1995: Stephen Hughes signed a professional contract.  He went on to
play 49 times for Arsenal before moving on to Everton in 2000.  His final football contract was with Walsall in 2008/9

15 July 2002: Arsène Wenger became a member of Legion d’Honneur.  The Order was established by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802 and is the highest decoration in France.

15 July 2006: Barnet 0 Arsenal 0.  This opening of the pre-season games was played just before the first match at the Emirates – the Bergkamp testimonial.

15 July 2015: Singapore XI 0 Arsenal 4 (Akpom 3, Wilshere).  This was the start of only the second unbeaten pre-season in Arsenal’s modern history.  The first was in 2005.  In the early 20th century Arsenal had several unbeaten end of season tours.

15 July 2017: Arsenal played the second game of their Australian tour, against  Western Sydney Wanderers, in front of 83,000 people. Arsenal won 3–1 after first-half goals from Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny.

15 July 2019, Arsenal beat Colorado Rapids 3-0 with Martinelli scoring on his  debut.


A full list of many series of articles on Arsenal’s history can be found here.

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

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