Mikel Arteta now plans to recall Gabriel Magalhaes to the starting line-up as Arsenal visit Crystal Palace on Monday, despite interest from Saudi Arabia in his late transfer.
That is according to Charles Watts, who reports that Arteta made a tactical decision at home to Nottingham Forest when only naming Gabriel on the bench last week. Ben White started centrally beside William Saliba as they opened the Premier League season against the Reds.
Gabriel had established a strong partnership with Saliba at Emirates Stadium last term after Arteta moved White to right-back. But the Gunners coach felt it was more fitting for Thomas Partey to start at right-back in their season opener. Jurrien Timber rounded out the backline.
Arteta shocked many by axing Gabriel from Arsenal’s XI
Arteta shocked many by axing Gabriel having established the 25-year-old as an instrumental part of his plans. The Brazilian had started in 78 consecutive Premier League games before Nottingham Forest visited north London. His last appearance on the bench was in April 2021.
The Sao Paulo native is also one of the Emirates Stadium side’s main leaders in their dressing room. He further started the Community Shield against Manchester City at Wembley. Arteta replaced the 6 ft 2 enforcer in the 87th minute in an attacking change for Emile Smith Rowe.
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Gabriel rarely put one foot wrong at Wembley, both in and out of possession. He and Saliba combined well to keep Erling Haaland quiet, albeit with the occasional rash tackle. Gabriel is a player who Andy Townsend has stated ‘makes mistakes’ and has ‘lapses in concentration’.
Gabriel to return to Arsenal’s line-up at Crystal Palace
Even Timber sustaining an ACL injury against Nottingham Forest saw Arteta keep Gabriel on Arsenal’s bench. Takehiro Tomiyasu replaced Timber at left-back. Gabriel came on in just the 86th minute for Gabriel Martinelli as Arteta added an additional defender after conceding.
But, possibly in part due to Timber’s injury, Arteta now plans to recall Gabriel to Arsenal’s XI when they visit Crystal Palace. The Gunners travel to south London on Monday night. A role for the Brazilian may also mean White returns to right-back to clear the centre-half position.
Arteta recalling Gabriel at Crystal Palace would further signal Arsenal will not sanction a last-gasp transfer for the defender. The Mirror has reported that Saudi Arabian teams are looking into prising Gabriel away from Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are aware of their initial interest.