Arsenal are often labelled by pundits and rivals as a soft side. We were criticised for years for our performances against physical sides, but that seems to have changed in recent years.
The Gunners are now criticised by the same pundits for lacking discipline on the pitch. The likes of David Luiz, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Magalhaes have all had a few moments of madness that have cost them and Arsenal dearly in a few games.
Luiz, in particular, has a knack of doing things that infuriate a few Arsenal fans. However, he gets away with a number of sly challenges as well every time he’s on the bench. As the old-school football fans would say, he loves letting the strikers know he’s right there.
Leeds United star Patrick Bamford has had his say on the Brazilian’s antics on the pitch alongside Gabriel when the Whites visited the Emirates in February. It’s safe to say, he didn’t enjoy playing against Luiz.
He said on That Peter Crouch podcast: “I’ll tell you who was a bit like that (unnecessarily physical), that Gabriel at Arsenal. I don’t know what his issue was.”
“And to be fair, David Luiz, who I knew through back in time at Chelsea. When we played them at Arsenal, the first ball I kicked him on the ankle and it was accidental. I was like ‘sorry bro’ and he was like ‘don’t worry, don’t worry, it’s fine’.
“He was chatting to me. The next time I got the ball, he absolutely clattered me. He didn’t just put me on the floor, he trampled all over me. I was like you dirty b*****d. You’ve just told me it’s alright and we’re brothers.”
The Insider’s View:
Luiz has been the same for years now and it looks like Gabriel is learning from him. The former Lille man is just as big and strong as his compatriot, and the good thing for Arsenal is that he is a lot quicker.
That could make Gabriel a lot better than Luiz in a few years’ time. The 23-year-old has all the qualities to become a world-class centre-half – all he needs is some good guidance, and thankfully for him, he has a fellow countryman who has done it all right next to him.
The former Chelsea man has returned to training after missing a month of football due to a knee problem. It is unlikely that he will feature tomorrow, but he should be ready for the final few games of our season, and that is a huge boost for us.