Should he be needed for the game against Chelsea, Laurent Koscielny is certain that Gabriel will be ready.

Per Mertesacker is rated as 50/50 after picking up a sprained ankle against Reading in the FA Cup semi final last weekend and it is widely expected the the Brazilian will replace him in the starting lineup.

From what we’ve seen of Gabriel since his arrival in January, that’s not a bad thing.

An aggressive defender who has already shown he can be a real threat from set-pieces as well, he will offer something different than the German and, perhaps, more steel at the back than what Chelsea are used to facing with Arsenal.

I almost wish Diego Costa was fit as I’d love to see him try his nonsense with Gab.

“I play very well with Per but I also play very well with Gabriel as well,” Koscielny told “They’re different players who approach the game differently but with the same quality.

“The most important thing is to establish a centre-back pairing, so we need to talk a lot. I know that Gabriel is trying to learn English so that’s good for us. We have good defenders who can play for the team and who want to win for the team.

“Gabriel only arrived in January but he has done well in the games he has played. He’s strong, he’s quick, his mentality means he is ready to fight against Chelsea, so I don’t have any problems with starting alongside him.

“We are well equipped to play Chelsea now.

“We are stronger than we were at the start of the season and we want to keep our quality to extend our winning run.”