Mikel Arteta thinks Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White are building a strong connection at the back despite the language barrier.
Due to Gabriel Magalhaes’ injury issue over the summer, Arsenal had to wait until mid-September for the centre-back to join up with new summer signing Ben White in defence.
In terms of results at the back, things have gone very well since then. Arsenal have kept clean sheets against Norwich City, Burnley, and Brighton, and only conceded once in a 3-1 win over Spurs.
Speaking after the Brighton game, Mikel Arteta admitted it’s a bit of a surprise to see the two centre-backs combining so well, given the lack of pre-season, the lack of experience as a pair, and the fact they still have a bit of a language barrier.
“Yeah [I’m impressed] because they’ve never played together and because they have struggled a little bit with the language and they didn’t have any time to work together in pre-season either,” Arteta said.
“They’re getting a really good connection, good chemistry, and I think their qualities match and complement each other really, really well. I think both of them today were terrific.”
It’s certainly true that the centre-backs were two of very few to really put in a good display for Arsenal in the Brighton draw. The team need a lot more going forward, but they seem to be building a strong foundation at the back.