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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
George Flood

Pep Guardiola hails Arsenal’s ‘incredible weapon’ Gabriel Martinelli after lively FA Cup cameo

Lively cameo: Gabriel Martinelli almost led Arsenal to a late equaliser at the Etihad

(Picture: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola has heaped praise upon Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli after Manchester City’s narrow FA Cup win.

The hosts came out on top 1-0 in a tense battle of Premier League title rivals at the Etihad Stadium on Friday night, with Nathan Ake’s brilliant second-half finish proving the difference in a close affair and sealing a place in round five.

Top-flight leaders Arsenal had created the best chances before the break despite showing six changes from the last-gasp win over Manchester United last weekend to just two from Guardiola, with City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega denying the lively full debutant Leandro Trossard and Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Eddie Nketiah firing wide at the front post.

Nketiah could not convert their best chance to equalise after falling behind, thwarted by some expert Aymeric Laporte defending, with the Gunners later offering a sustained threat in the closing minutes thanks to the introduction of Martinelli, who bamboozled defenders with his pace and trickery but twice saw dangerous efforts cleared by Ortega.

The Brazilian has agreed a new four-and-a-half year contract with Arsenal lasting until the summer of 2027 and continued to boost his soaring reputation with a lively cup cameo in Manchester.

“Yeah good, but Martinelli is an incredible weapon,” Guardiola told reporters when asked how he felt his side managed the game after going ahead.

“[Martin] Odegaard comes on and they play in the pockets, they are a really good team, otherwise they could not be where they are.

“They are agrressive, they know exactly what they have to do. The little details they control really well, but in the end we played a good game.”

Arsenal and City are due to lock horns again in a massive Premier League title showdown at the Emirates Stadium on February 15, with the Gunners boasting a five-point lead at the summit with a game in hand.

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