18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli inspires Arsenal to 4-0 thumping of Standard Liege

Tom Homewood
Assistant Producer

18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli inspired Arsenal to a comfortable 4-0 win over Standard Liege in the Europa League scoring two and setting up another.

Martinelli, who joined for £6m this summer, scored two in three minutes as the home side came flying out of the blocks at the Emirates. The first he headed into the roof of the net from Kieran Tierney’s ball in before a wonderful turn and finish inside the area just 131 seconds later.

Joe Willock added a third, calmly slotting into the bottom corner as Unai Emery’s Arsenal ran riot in the first half.

Dani Ceballos made it 4-0 in the second-half with his first goal for the club as Arsenal move top of Group F with two wins from two.

Aged 18 years & 107 days, Martinelli is the youngest player to net two or more goals in a major European game for Arsenal. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Reiss Nelson made a bright start to the game giving former Manchester United youth team goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic an early warning shot, but his low drive wasn’t any real trouble.

Gabriel Martinelli put the hosts in front in the 13th minute heading home from Kieran Tierney’s cross as the two summer signings combined beautifully.

Martinelli doubled his and Arsenal’s tally just three minutes later. Picking up from Nelson inside the box, he turned and curled a delightful effort into the far corner.

It should have been 3-0 two minutes after that too. Joe Willock was in acres of space in the box but he volleyed over from 10 yards out.

Willock made amends for that miss in the 22nd minute and did put Arsenal 3-0 up. Nelson's shot was blocked before it fell kindly for the 20-year-old to take a touch and find the bottom corner.

There was almost a first-half hat-trick for Martinelli but his flicked effort at the near post was gathered by Milinkovic-Savic.

Emiliano Martinez was called into action in the Arsenal goal when Nicolas Gavory's left-footed shot deflected off captain Hector Bellerin and needed tipping over.

Arsenal were denied what looked to be a clear penalty when Nelson rounded Milinkovic-Savic and was brought down, but the referee pointed for a corner.

Martinelli celebrates after putting Arsenal 2-0 up. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)

Martinelli came close to his hat-trick once again after the restart, receiving the ball from Dani Ceballos 25 yards out, he turned and bent his strike narrowly wide.

The young Brazilian came close to his third just moments later from Nelson’s pin point cross, but he couldn’t find the target on the stretch.

Ceballos made it 4-0 in the 56th minute with his first goal for the club after a simple tap in from a yard out. Martinelli pulled away from the defence and lifted the ball over the Liege ‘keeper for Ceballos to apply the finish.

Liege skipper Paul-Jose M'Poku almost got one back for the away side after finding space at the back post, but his rising drive was palmed to safety by Martinez.

Milinkovic-Savic’s excellent save denied Martinelli his hat-trick after Nelson again found the young striker, but his flick on was pushed well to safety.

Substitute Nicolas Pepe almost made it 5-0 after Martinell put through the legs of Liege defender Mergim Vojvoda to find the £72m man, but his shot is hacked off the line before Hector Bellerin blasts wide.

Ceballos almost got his second but his effort was straight at Milinkovic-Savic from eight yards out. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who came on off the bench, then sent an effort flying wide.

Martinelli was robbed of his hat-trick by team-mate Pepe as he was nudged when heading towards goal from six-yards out as the Gunners ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.

Elsewherein Group F Eintracht Frankfurt beat Vitoria Guimaraes 1-0.

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