The fact that Per Mertesacker was not even on the bench for Arsenal today tells you that he was not ready for some reason. We do not yet know the reason but the giant German had been ill and was perhaps not quite fit enough to risk. Arsenal have two more games coming up in the week ahead and hopefully Mertesacker will be available for them.
Assuming he is, will he walk straight back into the starting line up, or did our Brazilian centre back Gabriel do enough against Stoke to suggest that he should keep his place alongside Laurent Koscielny? I am in two minds personally.
I do like the aggression from Gabriel and the way he wants to defend on the front foot, like his French defensive partner, but then I wonder if having two such similar players at the heart of our defence is really the best thing. Mertesacker and Koscielny do seem to complement each other very well after all.
On the other hand, Gabriel seems to have some of the fire that great Arsenal centre backs of the past like Keown and Adams had and for a long time people have been sdaying that we are too nice. Arnautovic certainly found out today that Gabriel is not like that and after he launched Debuchy into an advertising board last season and cost the right back most of his debut season, I was delighted to see Gabriel take him out.
But he also seems a bit reckless at times and on another day could have conceded a costly penalty. If it was me I would start him against Dinamo Zagreb and then have a serious think about whether to bring the BFG back for the crucial away game with Chelsea. What do you think?