We were all over the moon when Arsene Wenger finally fixed Arsenal’s lack of defensive options by buying Gabriel in January, but it now seems that we are back to square one for the next few weeks. Everyone at JustArsenal thought that Gabriel would start alongside Koscielny for last night’s game against QPR, but it was the surprise pairing with Mertesacker that were in the First XI on only the Brazilian’s second start for the Gunners.
But poor Gabriel only lasted for just over half an hour before Wenger had to cut Koscielny’s rest short as the Brazilian went down with a hamstring injury and will now miss Monday’s FA Cup game against Manchester United. Wenger said after the game: “It’s a hamstring. I don’t know, it’s bad enough to come off. It’s usually 21 days, not years!”
Wenger says “Usually 21 days” but we have known his predictions to be wildly wrong before so we will have to wait and see on that. Even if it IS just three weeks, Gabriel will also miss the return Champions League leg at Monaco, plus League games against West Ham and Newcastle. These games are crucial to our season and we now have to hope that Koscielny’s Achilles will stand up to the pressure in the upcoming games.
Nacho Monreal also missed yesterday’s game with a back strain but will hopefully be available to cover soon in case of further problems, but Matthieu Debuchy is not expected back for a couple of weeks at least. Calum Chambers was on the bench last night and could be used in an emergency.
Fingers crossed everyone!