Football injury expert and Sky Sports contributor Ben Dinnery has suggested that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta may take a “risk” with Gabriel against Newcastle.
Ahead of a crucial fixture with the Magpies on Monday night, Arsenal have some serious defensive issues to contend with.
Rob Holding, in for Ben White, was sent off in the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham in the week and to make matters worse Brazilian defender Gabriel hobbled off late on and appeared to be clutching his hamstring.
Interestingly, White wasn’t selected to come on which raises doubts surrounding his fitness.
With just a slender one-point lead over the north London rivals now in the race for fourth, Dinnery thinks that the Spanish coach may be forced into taking a gamble with the 24-year-old.
Speaking on the Premier FPL Injuries channel he said:
(11:06) “There’s big question marks over the availability of Gabriel.
“Mikel Arteta says he isn’t a player that likes to come off but it’s a muscle problem potentially hamstring related. Even if there isn’t a pull or a tear in there, there’s big question marks given that quick turnaround.
“However, we’re approaching this stage of the season and the gravity of the fixture and potential Champions League qualification where managers may take that risk where ordinarily they would look to manage players a little bit more conservatively.”
TIF Thoughts on Gabriel and Arsenal…
The towering centre-half has played more minutes than any of his teammates this season in the Premier League and has been combative at the back ranking second behind Thomas Partey for tackles won and first in the team for shots blocked (28).
Also with the most touches (2207) in the team he has been instrumental to the Gunners’ build-up play and his average season rating of 7.02 puts him just behind Bukayo Saka highlighting his importance to the side and Arteta may well be inclined to chance his leading defender.