TNT Sports pundit Rio Ferdinand says Mikel Arteta’s decision to drop Gabriel from Arsenal’s starting lineup may be down to him being error-prone.
After criticising the player for his mistakes last season, Ferdinand revealed that Gabriel got in contact. He said he respected the defender for speaking directly to him but he still stood by his assessment of the player, and he believes that Arteta may feel the same way:
“Yes, he (Gabriel) come direct to me, which I respect that. But, at the same time, I don’t think he saw what I was saying for what it is. I am a centre-back and I am seeing certain traits in your game that you need to eradicate because your manager will see them and go ‘I don’t want them in my team’.”
“It is kind of playing out now because he isn’t playing. It might be for the reason for what I said that ‘you can’t have a lack of concentration at times or he’s not as good on the ball as others’.”
Whether mistakes are the reason that Gabriel has been dropped, it remains to be seen. Arteta has confirmed that he has already spoken to the Brazilian explaining why he has been benched but the details of the conversation have not been made public.
Gabriel could start against United
Following the draw against Fulham last weekend, there is certainly a strong case for the 25-year-old to be recalled for the match against Manchester United this weekend.
While the partnership of William Saliba and Ben White hasn’t looked bad by any means, bringing Gabriel back into the team and going with a more settled back four is surely the way to go for Sunday’s game.
Arteta has been doing plenty of experimentation in the opening weeks of the season and it may be time to go back to basics.