So, the 6ft 1′ beast, Gabriel de Abreu, also known as Paulista has finally been announced as an Arsenal player. Just wouldn’t be Arsenal if they didn’t have a reason to delay the announcement. Confirmed to be available this weekend from Arsene Wenger, will he start? Does he deserve to start?
Paulista is coming from a Villareal team who only let in 17 goals in 19 games. They haven’t lost in 17 games either. His progression has come out of nowhere (RKO) and we’ve done well to snap him up before the tabloids will link him to every half decent club in the World in the summer. I’m personally looking forward to seeing him play and if I was the manager I’d give him a start against Villa on Sunday.
Gabriel will be competing with the big, friendly partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, along with Calum Chambers. All right-footed. According to Squawka.com (In comparison to his new defensive team-mates), Gabriel has the highest defence score (450.68, 19 games, team-mate with least games has played 12), as well as more interceptions per 90 (3.81). He’s actually made the 2nd most interceptions in La Liga this season (66), just one behind Laporte with 67.
He is a lot more of a “Koscielny” than a “Mertesacker”. He’s quick, not afraid to get stuck in and isn’t coming into the side with the biggest of reputations just yet. But despite his similarities to Koscielny, if Gabriel is going to play regularly for Arsenal, it will most likely come at the result of Per’s withdrawal. The German has made more blocks (0.57 to 0.50), successful aerial duels (65.43% to 59.74%) and has a stronger pass completion (89% to 85%) compared to our new #5. However as stated before Gabriel is superior overall this season, in intercepting play along with more clearances than Mertesacker. Per Mertesacker has been at the centre at a number of poor defensive outings this season and if Gabriel hits the ground running, will provide ample competition. He will give him a run for his money. My money’s on Gabriel beating him in a race.
Ultimately the Brazilian Enforcer is playing in a new league, a much more physical game where crazier things have happened than another certain compatriot swapping shirts with RVP at HT. But with Alexis not needing time to settle having come from Spain, I can only hope that the same will apply to our new Centre-back.