The Brazilian teenager’s return from injury has invigorated the Gunners and he played a starring role in Saturday’s clash despite not getting on the scoresheet at the Emirates.
Martinelli had four shots in the match, the most of any player on the pitch, and was a real danger throughout, also pressing and harrying with tenacity and energy.
Chelsea struggled to get to grips with him and no-one more so than Kante, with Martinelli toying with the Frenchman in a superb first-half display.
As time ticked away before the break, and with Arsenal two goals up, the Brazilian raced down the left flank before cutting inside sharply, sending Kante slipping and sliding to the floor in what was a very poor performance from the World Cup winner.
It also conjured memories of the last time Martinelli faced off against Chelsea, before he got injured, when he again had embarrassed Kante – and the 19-year-old clearly has not forgotten about it.
On Monday, Martinelli uploaded a picture from that game back in January 2020 when he scored a brilliant goal, capitalising on a slip from Kante on the halfway line to race through on goal to grab an equaliser for the 10-man Gunners.
The match ultimately ended 2-2, with Hector Bellerin grabbing a late equaliser after Chelsea had again taken the lead.
Arsenal fans took great enjoyment in seeing Martinelli toy with Kante again on Boxing Day, flooding social media with memes during the game:
Arsenal and Martinelli appear to have become something of a bogeyteam – and bogeyman – for Chelsea and Kante, failing to win their last three matches against the Gunners including the FA Cup final.
Martinelli’s return has galvanised Arsenal and with a run of games against Brighton, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Newcastle coming up, they will be hopeful of moving up the Premier League table.