“I know the fans are worried and lamenting as to why i ddropped him to the bench but this is the reason why….”- Mikel Arteta finally explains why he made shock decision to drop ‘super fast’ 190cm tall star man
Mikel Arteta has finally shed light on his surprising decision to bench Gabriel Magalhaes at the beginning of the season, stating that this move has contributed to the Brazilian international’s improvement as a player.
Despite being a defensive stalwart for Arsenal since joining from Lille three years ago, the 25-year-old experienced a shake-up in August. Amid speculation of a lucrative transfer to the Saudi Pro League, Arteta chose to relegate Gabriel to the substitutes’ bench for the initial three games of the campaign.
Following a less-than-stellar defensive performance in a 2-2 draw against Fulham, Arteta brought Gabriel back into the starting lineup for the subsequent victory against Manchester United. Since that pivotal match, Gabriel has been a consistent presence in Arsenal’s Premier League lineup.
Teaming up with William Saliba, Gabriel has formed a robust defensive partnership crucial to Arsenal’s ascent to the top of the table. While Arteta had previously kept mum about the rationale behind Gabriel’s early-season absence, he suggested on Friday that the period on the sidelines has been beneficial for the player.
“In football, it’s about tomorrow,” Arteta emphasized during his pre-match press conference. “It’s about form, it’s about how you are playing, it’s about how you are behaving, and you have to earn it every single day because you know somebody else is next to you and wants to take your place and deserves to take your place. Sometimes you just need to sit down on the bench and realize things, and then suddenly you become a much better player.”
Regarding the emerging partnership between Gabriel and Saliba, now firmly established as Arteta’s first-choice central defensive duo, the Arsenal manager remarked, “To see those two center-backs at that age in the Premier League doing what they’re doing, that’s very strange. But credit to them, that’s a partnership. Building a relationship and chemistry there is not a company that can give you that statistic; that’s impossible to measure. There is something there, it’s not tangible but it’s very, very important in certain positions, and those two certainly have that.”