Opinion: Is our new problem finding a good partner for Gabriel?

Arsenal has had a fine few months under the management of Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard was appointed as the club’s manager last year and he has brought about changes in almost everything at the club.

He won the FA Cup and the Community Shield earlier in the year and the club backed him in the last transfer window.

One of the players that he signed in that transfer window was Gabriel Magalhaes.

The Brazilian had been turning heads with his fine showing at Lille and he attracted the attention of several top teams in the summer.

Arsenal won the race for his signature and in his first game for the club against Fulham, he showed how good he was and he even netted a goal.

Over time, the young Brazilian has remained consistently good and against Manchester United, which was a big game, he gave an equally big performance.

Arsenal seems to have found a solid defender, but it seems that a partner for the former Lille man is a problem for Arteta.

The Spaniard is still setting up his team with three centre-backs, but he might revert to a back four soon.

Even with three at the back, Arsenal doesn’t seem to have the perfect partner for Gabriel.

Gabriel makes the likes of Rob Holding look good when they are being paired together, but I doubt if the Englishman can be the long-term defensive partner of the Brazilian.

For me, we need to sign another top defender to partner Gabriel and we will have solved our long-standing defensive problem.

Do you think Arsenal needs to sign a new defender to partner Gabriel?

Tags Gabriel Magalhaes


  1. Once again the question asked at the articles end is importantly different from the question asked by tht misleading vheadline. I SUGGEST AD PAT THAT YOU LET WRITERS WRITE THEIR OWN HEADLINE AND EVEN INSIST THEY DO.
    Your headlines are often misrepresenting what the article acutally says!
    I personally think that we DO need to buy another quality CB as there are none , other than GABRIEL himself, here right NOW, who are clearly even apporaching the level he has in such obvious way!

    1. its never enough

      if we sign another Centreback there will still be fans asking to sign another CB and another CB…..for backup

      Once the CB has a bad game or get injured there will be calls to sign another CB…..

      Its never ending

      Unless we have 8 or more CBs it will never be enough

  2. At the moment, we have the best defence in the PL after playing pool City leicester and manure.

    We have Chambers and Mari coming back from injury, Soares covering Bellerin and Kos (excellent game last night) for Tierney… let alone the, yet unknown, emergence of Saliba’s talent.

    We shouldn’t keep looking at buying players, rather work with those we have at the moment and who cost us money.

        1. Yes. He had very little to do defensively. Wasted an open goal for yards out( harder to miss than score) every rating iv found for him last night was between 4-5 one sire gave him a 6. Struggling to think of any excellent play on his part. We all see things diffently i guess.Anyone think he played well??

          1. I think kolasinac is struggling, he looks like he is playing by himself. Pity, i had high hopes when he came, he definitely has gone backwards.

            1. And Luiz as been pretty amazing upto his injury,man of the match against Leicester and has been really solid before that .
              For me him and Gabriel are our best CB and they seem to bounce off each other ,both Brazilian and that can only help .
              In the long run though we do need other CB come next season .

          2. he did well apart from missing an open goal….

            then again hes not a striker

            His contract ends in the summer hes expected to leave for free

            1. It’s been a while since he got himself in those sort of positions….😁 So I’ll cut him some slack…

      1. …our new problem….

        This sums up Arsenal internet fans. Micro over analysing and looking for problems. How about is Gabriel the best defender in the epl with VVD out?, and can Arsenal mount title challenge with their new, peerless spine of Leno, gabriel, Partey and Auba once the new players and system bedded in?
        Not being triumphalist, but that is genuinely the question we should ask..

    1. To claim that our defence that has conceded the lowest goals after just seven games is “the best” is a triumph of hope over experience Ken.

      You surely know that what you wrote is nonsense. Our defence IS far tighter than it was but to claim it as the best is foolish and incorrect.

        1. Dan kit, No he is NOT right! Had he said that at the moment we have the defence that has conceded the fewest goals, THAT would have been correct. But he did NOT and instead he said ” ATM we have the best defence”, which is clearly untrue.


      1. Like your knowledge of English??! 😀

        But but but it’s his opinion!

        Here you are throwing around arrogance and condescension again. Maybe you should become the admin for just arsenal? Or just write all the articles yourself? Or better yet, lets only have your comments on here.

        Fact is, at the moment, in the premier League, or defence IS the best.

        1. FACTUALLY WRONG! You dislike me because I insist on acurate language in my perennial search for the real truth . Unlike some , I am not content with false so called “facts” andhalf truths and you do not like being reminded of that . Hence your dislike of me. IT WILL NOT WORRY ME ONE BIT, THOUGH YOU NEED IT SAYING!

          1. A lot of hot air and bluster but not many facts in your comment (considering you hold them so dear)

            Have a gander at the full premier League table.

            Here you are

            Arsenal -goals conceded = 7 the least of all teams in the premier League.

            This would factually indicate that when taking this criteria as an indicator, at the moment we factually have the best defence?

            You expressing your opinion that it isn’t is based on your opinion, bias and is subjective. All fine but not FACTS.

            Or am I tripping on reality?

            Still waiting for an apology regarding you saying a word didn’t exist when the dictionary proves it does. 😉 Mr Facts .

  3. Gabby is a top, top defender, he can definitely play and I really like him.

    In the short term I think we’re ok with Holding and Luiz as his partner.

    In the long term and I think it depends on what actually happens with Saliba, if he gets any games for us this season or goes on loan and proves himself, he could be the long term solution, which many have predicted.

    If it doesnt go according to plan for Saliba then i can see us going back into the market next season for another CB as we will lose / get rid of Mustafi and Sokratis. Not sure what will happen with Luiz and then we have CC and Mari, just depends how they both come back from injury

    1. Imagine a 3man defence of in form Saliba Mavropanos Gabriel..
      I’m sure Saliba and Mavro can’t do worse than Mustafi, Holding and Luiz.
      What a Unit that would be..

  4. Holding played really well lately and deserves to be that person. However we know MA will revert back to Luiz when he is healthy. Maybe Partey presence makes signing a new CB unnecessary.

  5. Definitely shouldn’t be looking at spending our money on another defender. Holding has looked good alongside Gabriel and we’ve still got Chambers and Mari to come back. Then there’s Saliba who has been let loss yet and a number of good youngsters coming through such as Zac Medley. Not of course forgetting we’ve conceded the fewest goals of any team after playing Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd

  6. I guess the formation has a lot to do with who partners Gabriel. Definitely Gabriel oozes quality, grit, and determination above our other defenders at the moment.

    Yes Val, I would have loved to see Saliba being used right from the scratch, and then we could have assessed his quality and potentials by now. Nevertheless, I feel Holding is doing his best but lacks only in his ball control, speed, and awareness. I hope he continues to improve.

    Generally, I feel you can only become as good as you know, understand, and can apply. In recent games, I can see a tremendous improvement in our ability to play in tight spaces and create quick patterns. I can only credit Arteta for quickly improving this next phase of our game play. And I am convinced this will greatly improve the creativity level of our team and put less pressure on our defence line.

    The future is definitely bright and I can only enjoin our fan base to trust the process!

    1. “ONLY ball control, speed and awareness” you say! I’d say that is quite a damning, but true, list!
      I like most of your typically sensible post but this part jarred, to my mind anyway.

      My personal view is that the hopeful Saliba apart, we have no one else even near good enough to partner Gabriel, in the LONG term future.

      1. *smiles*

        Yes Jon, it is for this reason that I continue to applaud the work done by Arteta. I really cannot imagine any other manager being able to bring these defenders even to the level that many of us are now considering them as good enough…

        Nevertheless, we cannot be too damming of these defenders and we can only hope they grab the opportunity to improve under Arteta’s system and enhance their market value for the next transfer window.

        I really do hope for a bright and long-term future for both Saliba and Gabriel in the defence…

        1. Fire, yes, when written in that deliberately diplomatic way, I am bound to agree with THIS post! I did with your first too, that jarring line apart!

  7. I think we are sorted in central defence. Gabriel

    That is 7 talented central defenders we have available.
    Any one of them can pair with Gabriel.
    I would stick with Gabriel and Holding partnership.

    1. S. J.

      Did you say Talented! 😳

      I wouldn’t say talented! Safe for Gabriel and Saliba, these are the same players who shipped in goals unending under Unai… Though this can be discussed in finer details some other time…

      In my opinion, you can only give credit to Arteta for making them know and to understand certain principles about the game, which has definitely improved their confidence and their recent performance… I only hope they can consistently apply themselves.

      Following from the words of Bergkamp, “a footballer is only as good as his first touch”. These defenders are lacking in this regard, which often puts them under pressure…

      I really hope they continue to improve under Arteta..

      1. Wow, i would not use the term talented, mercurial and inconsistent some of them but talented is generous to some, in real terms.

    2. My problem with Holding is speed. Man United didn’t come to the party, a more attacking minded team will trouble him.

    3. Exactly

      but fans want more

      fans want big name big tag CB

      CB that will never make mistakes in all games and matches

      CB that is immortal and not human like in Fifa 20

  8. We have quantity but perhaps not top quality yet in the second CB position. But I think it would be crazy to sign another one right now while verdict is still out on Saliba. Until then, we’ve got enough cover that can fill in adequately plus three more promising youngsters beyond Saliba. Patience.

    1. Exactly … other defensive positions more important will need a sub left back once kolasinac goes … thank god … and top right back is a priority as the overrated bellerin … despite marginal improvements under arteta … isn’t good enough at defending or attacking for an aspiring top 4 team

  9. With Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and William Saliba on the way back we have a full house. We couldn’t buy until January, so what’s the point. Not the most useful point. We bought Saliba for that very purpose and he should get a bloody chance. Mari is a good player and will hopefully be fully fit soon. Calum Chambers is a 100% player…..and we have Rob Holding who is improving. You want another CB?????

  10. OT.. ESR starts for U23s, as does Balogun. No Saliba though…

    I wonder if we’ll give Luiz another year?

  11. While I think Gabriel has done very well so far this season I think we need to temper the rhetoric used with regard to his performances.I have seen the words “world class” and ” imperious” used to describe him and in due course they may turn out to be entirely justified..However, in real terms I have seen him beaten on a number of occasions by forwards who have targeted his weaker right foot , but fortunately for us nothing came of these situations .Gabriel has virtually all the attributes needed to become a truly great centre back, and I think he will, but let’s not get carried away . He will have bad games like every player and it will be the interesting to see the reaction of fans when this occurs.Like virtually every fan, I am highly impressed with what I have seen of him so far, but the time to judge him as a player is at the end of the season, not after a handful of matches.As to finding a suitable partner for him, hopefully Saliba will justify his transfer fee in the not too distant future and prove he is equally as good as his former team mate Fofana who is doing so well at Leicester.While he is not a great player, Holding should continue as the partner for Gabriel this season with Luis as the main back up.As to next season, providing we can sell Mustafi , Chambers and Socratis for say 20m we should reinvest the proceeds in someone like Ben White of Brighton.

    1. Think Arteta finally got that, certainly took Luiz to be injured but he saw as world did. Playing Thursday hopefully confirms he won’t play Sunday…

      1. He played Thursday as was coming back from injury ,him and Gabriel will be our 2 main CBS this coming season

      2. Luiz is quite rightly, for more than one reason, Gabriels no1 partner at the moment. Luiz wether we like it or not has been a big part of our defensive improvement. Arteta likes him at the moment.

  12. Gabriel – 8/10
    Holding – 7/10
    Luiz – 6/10
    Mari – 6/10
    Chambers – 6/10
    Mustafi – 5/10
    Saliba – ?

    If we can sell Sokratis, Mustafi, Chambers then Luiz frees up the wage bill when he leaves next summer.

    It would not be bad to add a defender like Upamecano or Koulibally to partner Gabriel. That will be a beastly defensive pair.

    For now we can only do with Gabriel and Holding which to me is our 2 best center backs.

    1. SJ Your earlier post on this thread describes Mustafi as “talented”, yet you think a “talented”player worth only a five. Something acutely contradictory there I suggest!

  13. Holding for now but I think Mari might be that guy (27yrs now) if he comes back strong. Short term, Luiz is a secret attacking weapon with his long passes from the back and is solid against small teams with little attacking threat.

  14. 5/10 for Mustafi is an average mark. I think they are fairly good defenders.

    They all have it in them to deliver a good performance on a good day. All they need is hard work in training and maximum concentration on the pitch.

  15. Imagine a 3man defence of in form Saliba Mavropanos Gabriel..
    I’m sure Saliba and Mavro can’t do worse than Mustafi, Holding and Luiz.
    What a Unit that would be next season hopefully.

  16. I think Holding is doing quite well as of now and he could partner Gabriel at least for this season, the only thing he should improve on is his speed. However, I dont think Louis is as bad as made out to be, he has had decent performances, specially the FA Cup semifinals and final, and is definitely a leader on the pitch and also contributes to the forward play. Another thing he is also Brazilian and the combination with Gabriel works fine. I think MA will go with a 343 system for most matches and this would see Gabriel being paired with Louis and Holding. As for Salib it is a myster why is not playing even in the U-23. He is an excellent defender and would be the long term partner to Gabriel and the two would be the long term future for Arsenal. Also with Mari and Chambers to come in soon, I dont see the problem of defenders for Arsenal.

  17. ATM we should devote all resources to sign new striker (world class type) since Laca not doing so well and auba is ageing

  18. Since MA prefers to build his plays from the CB’s, I think he will prefer playing Luiz alongside with Gabriel. Don’t get me wrong, Luiz is getting better when he plays with Gabriel.

    I don’t think our main problem these days our defending process, but the lack of the real playmaker in the team and the “non-thirst” attacker. To me shuffling the players and giving chances to our youngsters rather than keep pushing Laca every match in the PL sounds a better option to solve this issue.

  19. Assuming Mari comes good after recovery from his injury then we have the option of playing either him or Gabriel (on the left) with any one or two (depending on the formation selected) from Luiz (best in a three), Mustafi, Chambers, Holding and Saliba*. Gabriel & Mari could play together with one other in a three but probably not in a four. There are so many permutations from those six but long/short term Mustafi & Luiz will be gone, while the other three are young & competent enough to compliment Mari or Gabriel, but how they would perform in the event of both of the two lefties being out for whatever reason could be worrying.
    I don’t think Arsenal will be looking to buy a new central defender and we still have Mavropanos to consider next season.
    * If & when we get to see him in a squad (any squad).

  20. A lot of fans haven’t seen Saliba play yet they think Saliva is better than Holding. I pick Holding any day, he seems to be outstanding in high profile games

  21. As it stands my pairing in back 4 would be
    1st choice Holding Gabriel
    2nd Choice Saliba Mari
    3rd Choice chambers Luiz
    4th choice Ballard McGuiness
    5th choice Clarke medley

    This means in January I would try to sell mustafi, sokratis and mavropanos. 20m the 3 would be lovely.

    In the summer, if Saliba is still not cutting the mustard I would consider p/ex for another top talent in the mould of koulibaly or upamecano or try for aouar szosbial. I am also unsure if I would retain luiz, but he does appear to be well liked in the dressing rooms, I wonder if he could take over from Bould?

    I would also look to move on Soares and kolasinac, (20m the pair)both deserve more game time but then again so does AMN, who I believe could seek a move if he is not played more. By giving him the opportunity to be 2nd choice full back for either side, as well more chances when we play 3 in midfield or even on the flanks of the front 3, we could keep this really useful player. With the emergence of elneny and party as an unlikely pairing in a two and the emergence of willock Saka and hopefully ESR, once again people are looking at xhaka and ceballos and asking questions. Certainly I would not be paying the money Madrid want for ceballos 30m and some club might be prepared to offer 30m for xhaka, I would take it. 30 saved and 30 made in my book. Please leave in January ozil with a bit of dignity.

    Up front for me there is 2 problems, I think it’s time to give our captain the lead role and that will probably happen as martinelli returns. This is going to mean lacazette or nketiah playing back up for January I would send nketiah and Nelson out on loan if Martinelli comes back roaring, I would probably consider loans too for ESR and willock if they are not getting more game time.

    There is also balogun and the moller kid, who looks to offer something completely different. His nick name is zlatan or ibra to give you an idea.

  22. I think the plan was to get a top cb this season aka gabriel and use luiz(1 year extension) as an experienced head to marshal that back 3 while gabriel acclimates to the epl then buy another top cb next season while saliba continues to develop in the background.
    Our style of playing from the back is quite similar to liverpool so we need cb who are very good at long passes to switch play quickly. Gabriel, luiz and saliba all have that quality.

  23. Really ? We have Saliba and don’t forget we don’t pluck money from trees. Arsenal already have the perfect partner in Saliba I feel.

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