Mikel Arteta gave an update on Gabriel Magalhaes after the game against Tottenham Hotspur, but admitted they don’t know much yet.
Gabriel Magalhaes started Arsenal’s match against Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night, and he ended up playing much of the game as his side’s only recognised centre-back – following Rob Holding’s red card.
Gabriel had Granit Xhaka and Takehiro Tomiyasu for company in a makeshift back three, but Mikel Arteta didn’t want to risk Ben White so soon after his injury recovery.
When it rains, it pours, and Arsenal’s only centre-back on the pitch ended up picking up an injury of his own to add to Holding’s suspension.
After the game, Arteta suggested Gabriel’s request for a substitution suggested it was an issue worth noting, but they need to assess him further before drawing conclusions.
“I don’t know,” Arteta began. “Gabi is normally not a player who wants to or asks to come off the pitch, he felt something and hopefully it’s not much, because having Rob out and Ben with no training sessions, obviously we are really short in that position.
“It’s a muscular problem, and we’ll have to assess him.”
It’s probably best to come to terms with the fact that Gabriel won’t be available on Monday. Arsenal won’t be that lucky.
Assuming that’s the case, Arteta will need White to start (and the fact he made Thursday’s squad is a good sign for that). I’d argue Arsenal would be best off putting Tomiyasu alongside him, with Cedric Soares and Nuno Tavares in the full-back roles.
Granit Xhaka is another option, but that takes him out of midfield. With a defence of Tavares-Tomiyasu-White-Cedric, all four players are playing a role they are familiar with. Left-centre-back is Tomiyasu’s primary position with Japan.
After that, we’ll hopefully see both Holding and White available for the game against Everton, so it’s only the Newcastle game where Arteta will have to get creative.