Gabriel Martinelli made his long-awaited return from injury for Arsenal in the EFL Trophy last night.

The fact that the Brazilian started and played 45 minutes was the biggest positive of a tricky night.

Arsenal went down 3-0 to Wimbledon, which means they are eliminated from the competition.

On top of that, they received two red cards, with William Saliba one of the players to be sent off.

After the game, Martinelli sent a message to Arsenal fans, thanking them for his support during his injury lay-off.

There was considerable excitement about Martinelli when he burst into the Gunners side.

Injury cut short his campaign, but his return could well be at the perfect time for Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard’s attack is lacking spark and goals right now, and Martinelli is a natural finisher.

AFC Wimbledon v Arsenal U21 - EFL Trophy
David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

He will clearly need to be managed carefully, but getting a half of football under his belt is a decent start.

In a way, it’s a shame the Europa League group stage is ending tomorrow, because that competition could have been perfect for him to get senior action to continue his return without the intensity of the Premier League.

Martinelli will hope to continue his return to fitness in the coming weeks and get back into top flight action as soon as he’s ready.

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