Gabriel Magalhaes joined Arsenal from Lille in the summer and he was an instant hit.
Many felt that was the big, strong centre-half we’ve been lacking for years. He truly lived up to the hype and he was one of our better players even during our terrible run back in November and December.
Gabriel had to miss a few games due to injury and his form since has been shaky. He is still a brilliant player, but Jose Fonte, his centre-back partner at Lille, feels that Arteta’s system makes things difficult for him.
He told Squawka: “In today’s game, it is important (for a centre-back) to play some good balls in between the lines, to have a good diagonal or to be able to go in behind as well.
“Or you just play simple and don’t take too many risks because we play in a position where if we make a mistake it’s a chance for the opponent.
“Gabi managed to find many times the passes in between the lines but I noticed sometimes that Arsenal play as a three and he always plays in the middle, a bit deeper, so he’s much further away from the midfielders and strikers, which makes it more difficult to give passes between the lines.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
Fonte isn’t wrong, but it would be a mistake if Arteta decides to change things now. Granit Xhaka often fills in at left-back in order to give Kieran Tierney more freedom to get himself in attacking areas.
That pushes Gabriel into a central centre-have position which limits his ability ping out long diagonals. However, he has still found a way to thread balls in between the lines to our midfielders, which is a brilliant trait for a defender to have.
The Brazilian now has to get even better. He has all the traits to succeed in the Premier League and considering that he is still only 23, we should be really optimistic about his progression in the coming years.