Arsenal face double suspension risk with Gabriel Martinelli assigned new role vs Sporting CP

Gabriel Martinelli will walk a disciplinary tightrope when he is due to play for Arsenal in Thursday night’s Europa League round of 16 second leg against Sporting CP.

With a potentially near-full first-team squad to choose from and a Premier League game at home to Crystal Palace three days later also to be considered, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta is expected to turn his side just as he did in the first leg last Week.

Among the older Arsenal players battling for a start at the Emirates Stadium is Gabriel Martinelli. Whether that will be in his usual position off the left side of attack or in the line as was the case in Lisbon remains to be seen, although he could drop out of the team altogether.

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The Brazil international has started four of the Gunners’ seven games in the Europa League this season and was one of the first names on Arteta’s squad list in recent weeks as he reacted to being on the pitch in the 4-2 win over Aston Villa Bench was rested with five goals in his last six appearances.

However, given the 21-year-old’s disciplinary record, it could be tempting to take the striker off a starting line-up in all competitions for the sixth time this season, just to protect him from a potential suspension The north London team defeats Sporting CP.

As confirmed by UEFA in its “UEFA Europa League Regulations”, players and team officials are suspended for the next competition match after three cautions which have not resulted in a red card and each subsequent odd-numbered caution (fifth, seventh, ninth etc.);

Having received a booking at the Jose Alvalade Stadium, Martinelli will miss Arsenal’s potential quarter-final first leg if shown a yellow card on Thursday.

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