Martinelli shines as Arsenal thrash Liege; United held - GulfToday

Martinelli shines as Arsenal thrash Liege; United held

Martinelli shines as Arsenal thrash Liege; United held

Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli (left) scores a goal against Standard Liege during their UEFA Europa League Group F match in London on Thursday. Reuters

Paris: Arsenal teenager Gabriel Martinelli scored twice to spark a 4-0 rout of Standard Liege in the Europa League group stage on Thursday, while Manchester United stuttered to a goalless draw against AZ Alkmaar.

Martinelli, 18, headed in superbly to give last year’s runners-up Arsenal the lead on 14 minutes at the Emirates Stadium before adding a quick-fire second barely two minutes later.

The Brazilian was making just his second start for the Gunners since joining the club in July. He also struck twice on his full debut against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.

Joe Willock fired in a third for a youthful Arsenal on 22 minutes and Martinelli set up Dani Ceballos on the hour to wrap up another comfortable win in Europe as Unai Emery’s side moved on to six points at the top of Group F.

“The team had a great performance. It’s a very important win for us,” defender Hector Bellerin told BT Sport, praising the dedication shown by Martinelli.

“He keeps his head down, he works really hard, he is doing what the coach wants him to do and it shows on the pitch. Everyone is really pleased for him.”

Arsenal are three points clear of both Standard and Eintracht Frankfurt, who beat Vitoria Guimaraes 1-0 in Portugal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United again struggled in attack and failed to muster a single shot on target with the club still searching for a first away win since March.

United are winless in 10 games away from home — a run that has seen them score just five times.

“The conditions were tough but I thought we did very well. It puts us in a good position,” said Solskjaer.

“If you get your draws away from home and win the home games, you’ll be fine.”

Academy product Brandon Williams was handed his first start for United, who saw teenager Mason Greenwood denied by a superb block from Ron Vlaar on 30 minutes.

The game was played in The Hague, on an artificial surface described as “one of the worst” by Solskjaer, after a storm damaged Alkmaar’s home ground in August.

Agence France-Presse

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