Winner of PFA Vertu Motors Premier League Fans’ Player of the Month

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Arsenal’s Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli has become the surprise winner of PFA Vertu Motor’s Premier League Fans’ Player of the Month in December.

The 20-year-old really struck out in the last month of 2021 after struggling to break into Mikel Arteta’s plans this season.

After scoring in Arsenal’s last Premier League match in November, Martinelli did not look back – he started and played when the Gunners enjoyed four straight victories to look the year ahead.

The versatile forward provided an assist against both Manchester United and Southampton before rediscovering his goal contact and scoring three goals in two games during the process.

The first was the winner of a decisive victory over Arsenal’s four main rivals West Ham at the Emirates Stadium. Martinelli made an excellent shooting run to catch Alexandre Lacazette’s through ball before hitting the target and placing a Thierry Henry-like finish in the bottom corner.

The Brazilian youth international followed it up with a position in the match man against Leeds, slammed a loose ball into the net roof before he made another fine run and stayed cool to find the stranded goalkeeper.

Back-to-back victories over Southampton, West Ham, Leeds and Norwich mean that Arteta’s men are in pole position for a top four spot – something few would have predicted at the start of the season – and Martinelli played a big role.

Despite fierce competition from the likes of James Maddison, Son Heung-min and his Arsenal team-mate Martin Odegaard, Martinelli received only a quarter of the votes (24.25%) for the prize in December.

His closest challenger was Leicester’s Maddison – another player who returned to form in December – with 16.9%.

REMEMBER TO VOTE FOR THE NEXT PFA VERTU MOTORS FANS AWARDS PLAYER OF THE MONTH, VIA 90MIN.

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