Brazilian Rustiness to be Buffed Out
Neither Gabriel looked sharp on Saturday. That also is not a concern.
Gabriel’s opening to the game set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Shaky on the ball and caught flat-footed on a couple of occasions, that filtered through into the rest of his performance, including some poor deliveries down the line.
Having been Arsenal’s best defender, and arguably player, for the opening weeks of the season and then missing the next six matches through illness, inevitable signs of rustiness were unavoidable.
Being knocked of the FA Cup is gut-wrenching, not least since it provided an achievable route back into Europe. Now it’s done and dusted, what few positive aspects there are stem from both Brazilian’s earning some minutes on the pitch. Gabriel needed that run out as he will be essential for the rest of the season, while the equally rusty Gabriel Martinelli is getting back up to speed following a string of unfortunate knocks.
Mentally both are as ready as they ever look, with the forward harrying down the ball and making some exciting runs on the left flank, none of which were found. Indeed, Willian found the referee with a pass (1) more times than he found Martinelli (0) in the first half.
Rustiness throughout, but valuable minutes for the Gunners’ Gabriel’s.