Freddie Ljungberg gave huge credit to Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli after his performance in the 2-1 defeat to Villarreal last night.
The Gunners suffered a loss away to Spanish opposition on Thursday night in the Europa League semi-final first leg.
It was a game where the north London club were far from their best in defeat, but they do have an away goal to take back to the Emirates Stadium for next week’s second leg.
Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol both scored within the opening half an hour to fire Villarreal into a two-goal lead.
Arsenal’s pain was enhanced when Dani Ceballos was shown a red card in the 57th minute. However, a Nicolas Pepe spot-kick later on got the Premier League side back in the tie, and ex-Tottenham midfielder Etienne Capoue was also show a red card for the hosts.
Ex-Arsenal interim boss Ljungberg believes that substitute Martinelli was a bright spark for the Gunners against Villarreal.
The Brazilian forward entered the action from the bench in the 63rd minute, and delivered a really bright cameo full of energy and enthusiasm.
“Martinelli, when he came on he would go in behind, his movement created a lot of problems, and he helped Granit [Xhaka] a lot defensively,” Ljungberg told BT Sport 3 (10:23pm, 29 April).
“I thought he was amazing when he came on. The energy he gives, he runs everywhere, he is really awkward to play against. He trains really, really well.”