Only Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez have played in more games than Per Mertesacker for Arsenal so far this season and only the Chilean super striker has started as many as our lanky German centre back. So I am not surprised that it was our BGF that made way for the debut of our January signing Gabriel Paulista against Boro in the FA cup on Sunday.
But it is our other regular central defender Laurent Koscielny that is most at risk, fitness wise, from the ankle ligament problems that have already caused him to miss quite a few games this season. This tendonitis is an odd problem that could flare up again at any time and as he is our best defender, Arsene Wenger will be keen to ensure that the French international is available for the bigger games.
Now that our new Brazilian has completed his debut in impressive style, Wenger now has the opportunity to rest Koscielny a bit more and I think this weekend’s away game at Crystal Palace in the Premier League is the perfect time to start.
Gabriel’s team mates were suitably impressed with his first game for the Gunners and will surely feel confident having him back at the heart of our defence. And I’m sure that Mertesacker will see him as a very similar type of player to have alongside as his usual partner in crime, as Gabriel has the pace and aggression needed to complement his own defensive abilities.
Do you think Wenger should try Gabriel with our BFG on Saturday?