Speaking on Friday morning, Arsène Wenger confirmed that Gabriel will replace Per Mertesacker in the team this weekend.
Arsenal travel to play Manchester City on Sunday in a game which is likely to decide which of the two sides is guaranteed Champions League football next season and who will have to face a play-off instead. It’s also a nice break from all the transfer rumours which are starting to surface.
It’s a blow to hear that Per Mertesacker is out of the last two games of the season but that leaves Wenger a choice: Gabriel or Calum Chambers?
However, the Arsenal boss doesn’t see it like that.
“We lost Mertesacker, the season is over for him because of his hamstring. That means Gabriel will come in for him.”
But why not Calum Chambers, who is a more natural replacement for the German?
Gabriel is a strong defender in his own right but his partnership with Laurent Koscielny has struggled when given a chance, even a run of games, to develop.
After Arsenal beat Leicester City with Chambers in defence for the entire second half, the young Englishman has played four minutes of Premier League football. Gabriel started the following seven games on the bounce.
In those matches, he and Koscielny just looked a little mismatched and Arsenal conceded 11 times, keeping just two clean sheets.
Nonetheless, we will see the pair try to combine again to keep Sergio Agüero and co. out this weekend rather than hand Chambers an opportunity to stake his own claim.