Ok folks, we’re over the worst of it now, you can start preparing for the proper football this weekend, as the international break will soon be a distant memory, thankfully.
Another set of matches yesterday saw the North Irish have a pretty good day of it in the football and the egg chasers had plenty to smile about. The Republic lost to Poland, but from an Arsenal perspective there wasn’t really very much at all to concern ourselves there, unless you consider the quite frightening form of Robert Lewandowski at the moment. He scored the winner and added another to his tally for the season, a season in which he’s so far decided that hat-tricks are old ‘hat’ and he’s going to outdo even getting those. Bodes really well for a week and a halfs time, doesn’t it *sarcasm-o-meter buzzing noise*?Still, at least we have players like Gabriel, who with that stare and steely gaze of his, might be able to frighten the Pole into not scoring when we meet them in the Champions League. Yeah, I probably doubt that too, if I’m honest…
But I still think Gabriel has been a great signing for us so far and, when you read him talk about his upbringing on the official site, it only helps to frame that opinion even more. The strong family bond with his mother, the crime and death he has seen amidst the poverty of the favelas in Sao Paulo, give us all an insight to a man with a determination that you could argue could only be born out of such difficult formative years.
I love that Gabriel is a ‘no nonsense’ defender. He will ‘Row as’ a ball if needed and has shown his style of attacking balls like Koscienly does and with the ability to interchange with Big Per or Laurent, we will be the beneficiaries this season, I’m sure. His style is such that it feels like he is more interchangeable than Chambers, for example. Chambers and Big Per are positional defenders who do not have an abundance of pace, yet Gabriel and Koscienly are the faster, high ball winning defenders who try to snap in to the tackles a lot quick than our BFG and young English prospect. So I can understand why Wenger chooses Gabriel to rotate than Calum. It’s easier to play two recovery-pace central defenders than it is to play two positional central defenders, I think, so I suspect our best options are to play one of Gabriel and Koscienly with either Chambers or Big Per. I know both Chambers and Big Per played in the Capital One Cup against the Spuds, but that felt more out of necessity (rest Kos, Gabriel suspended) than tactical decision.
I love that Gabriel has an ‘edge’. But unlike Diego Costa’s ‘edge’ (which we all know is about cheating the game as much as he possibly can), I feel like Gabriel will learn from his transgressions on the field and improve as a result. In the Costa instance, for example, I like to think that if that gets replayed at the game at The Emirates next year he’ll simply walk away. He can continue to berate Costa verbally, but I’d be surprised to see him lash out again.
He’s a good news story that I bet would make a rare thing in football – an interesting autobiography – but before talk turns to publishing deals, he has to establish himself as first choice for Arsenal and give us another five years improving on the good he has already done.
Let me know what you think in the comments.