I suggested a while ago that Arsenal needed to start the Brazilian centre back Gabriel next to Laurent Koscielny a bit more, in order to get the defender up to speed and the central defensive pairing settled in preparation for the very difficult looking double header against Barcelona in the Champions League.
We don’t know if Arsene Wenger was thinking along the same lines, or if the ill advised sliding tackle and subsequent red card for Per Mertesacker against Chelsea last month was the cause, but the German has lost his place to Gabriel at the minute and that makes me feel a lot better about our chances of keeping out the pace and trickery of the terrible trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez.
Before that, however, the new defensive duo of Arsenal will face another stern test against a fast and efficient attack when Claudio Ranieri brings his high flying Leicester City side to north London on Sunday. For those Gooners who might be looking forward to the game with a lot of nerves and not too much confidence, I have some good news for you in the shape of some remarkable stats reported by Metro.
Would you believe that the Gunners have conceded just one single solitary goal this season when Gabriel has completed the full match and he has done that seven times so far. Liverpool, Newcastle, Man United, Southampton and Bournemouth twice have failed to trouble the scorers when Gabriel has played and only Everton have got one past him.
There was a report on Just Arsenal yesterday about our defence compared to that of the other title chasers. It was pretty positive stuff and when you consider that most of those stats came from games with the BFG playing and would probably be even better with Gabriel.
But will it see Arsenal win these key clashes with Leicester and Barcelona?