Arsenal have now won 2 games in a row with 2 clean sheets, and it may be worth pointing out that these are the only two games that Gabriel Magalhaes has been available for selection by Arteta.
The Brazilian missed most of last season with injury after his arrival, with much fanfare, from Lille, and we were hoping that he would be the mainstay of our defence.
As Mikel Arteta said after last night’s game at Burnley, when asked how much we missed Gabriel’s presence in our first few games: “Yes but we didn’t have him, so we don’t know how much we missed him. We know that he’s a player with an incredible future and is already giving us a lot. He has adapted really well to the league. That’s why we signed him. He is stepping in, his language is much better and he can coach and communicate much better with his teammates. He understands what we want and I don’t think it gets much harder than playing here in the Premier League. He was terrific today.”
We also saw Thomas Partey start his first game of the season after having had a half hour warm up against Norwich last week, and despite him suffering from lack of match fitness we saw his battling qualities and commanding presence in the centre of the park. He arrived at the same time as Gabriel last summer and also suffered an injury-blighted first season. Arteta said about his performance: “He’s really important because he is the anchor and he is the one that needs to read what is happening and make the rest better. That’s his biggest job, to get the right balance in the team and get the right fluidity in the team so we can attack. How he managed the transitions was top, he has the pressing and the charisma and then he struggled at the end. He could not finish the game because he was cramping. But that will come up. He missed a long time but now he’s back again and he needs some more fitness back.”
These two talented players may have arrived last summer, but they are like two new signings after their problems last year.
If they can stay fit and integrate well with our six new arrivals I feel they will be the mainstay of our spine for many years to come.
Please stay fit this season lads!