What’s the verdict on Gabriel’s performance as Arsenal’s right back?

Arsenal came up against AFC Bournemouth at the weekend, with the Gunners coming out on top in a 3-1 win at the Emirates. The score line may suggest a comfortable victory for the Gunners, but it was instead a very tense affair.

The Gunners took the lead fairly early on, with a defensive error from Bournemouth allowing Alexis Sanchez a free shot on a goal. Despite being one-nil up, Arsenal didn’t look comfortable and an injury to Mathieu Debuchy meant the Gunners were forced into making an early change. Debuchy had managed to make his first appearance for the Gunners in over a year, having spent the second half of last season out on loan. The Frenchman had worked hard in training and despite sulking with intentions to leave the club in the summer. However he was keen to seize the opportunity of Bellerin’s injury and Arsene Wenger gave Debuchy an opportunity to show us what he was still capable of. Jenkinson originally took Bellerin’s spot, but a poor run of performances made the Englishman look out of depth and thus Debuchy was given a chance. The Frenchman only lasted 15 minutes however before his return was over and subsequently, with no right back on the bench, Wenger was forced into putting back up defender Gabriel on the pitch at right back.

I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say that I’m not the biggest fan of Gabriel. He has looked promising at times, but his aggression and clumsiness make a dangerous combination at centre back. In his time at the club, he’s failed to really make a claim at becoming a Gunners regular and there have been suggestions that with Rob Holding likely to form a partnership with Mustafi and/or Chambers in the not too distant future, Gabriel’s time at the club could soon be over. However on Sunday he impressed massively as a stand in right back, especially considering the player struggles for playing time in his preferred position as a central defender.

One concern that I had when he came on, was the fact that Arsenal like to utilise their fullbacks as attacking options as well as their obvious defensive duties. You see the likes of Bellerin, Gibbs and Monreal flying down the flanks to support attacks, but with Gabriel you would’ve expected an awkward and clumsy performance in the right back position. Surprisingly enough he was strong in defence, had good positioning and supported attacks well, even getting up the pitch to get into a crossing position on the odd occasion.

Although it’s just a single performance and not one that we should base his current situation on at the club, I do think he’s given himself a little more hope of making more of an impression under Arsene Wenger. Some fans may have written the Brazilian defender off, but I for one was relatively impressed with what I saw from the makeshift right back, and if Jenkinson isn’t up for the task, I wouldn’t mind seeing Gabriel getting a similar opportunity again.



  1. Juhi McLovin says:

    I thought Gabriel was more than decent as a RB.

    1. Kostafi says:

      No he is definitely a CB. Full backs come in 2 moulds the quick FBs who can play as wing backs and get up and down the pitch with ease and the resilient ones who rely on positional awareness due to a lack of pace. Bellerin is the former and Chambers the latter. Gabriel has some pace but his positional sense is in the centre. I think Wenger was forced to play Koscielny there a couple of seasons ago in match due to a red card and he kept drifting into the centre leaving the flanks exposed.
      Full backs make good converts to centre backs but vice versa is rarely a success.

  2. dragunov762mm says:

    Gabriel has the speed, so this RB rule is not giving him trouble. I’m glad we have good deepness in RB’s : Bellerin, Jenkinson, Debuchy, and Gabriel. And also CB’s : Kos, Mustafi, BFG, Gabriel, Chambers, and Holding.

  3. NY_Gunner says:

    I think he was more than decent as a CB, up until that sending off against Chelsea…It’s like that shook his confidence a bit. He seems to be trying to get back on track and fair play to em…

  4. gotanidea says:

    Gabriel is not bad as a right fullback. He is not fast, but tackles a lot a and really tough to be bypassed. Let’s see if he can hold up against pacey wingers like Jefferson Montero, Adama Traore, Jesus Navas and Raheem Sterling.

  5. mohawk says:

    For a player coming in as Arsenal’s 4th choice RB he was great. I was skeptical but he did well even on offense.

  6. ruelando says:

    Gabriel probably not as quick as bellerin or jenkinson but as good pace, i must admit i was not convinced at the start, but he grew as the game went on and would not mind seeing that experiment again

  7. Simon_MrMac says:

    Thought Jenkinson was poor throughout – so happy to have Gab as option.

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