Arsenal's "unsung hero" hailed by pundit

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Gabriel joined Arsenal in the summer.

Coming in from Ligue 1 club Lille, the Brazilian centre-back has seen plenty of action since his move.

He has made six appearances in all competitions, including four in the Premier League, and has scored once, netting in the 3-0 win over Fulham on the opening weekend of the season.

It seems amazing to think, though, that a £27m summer signing is rather flying under the radar in Mikel Arteta’s team.

Arsenal have, of course, brought in Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid too and he made his debut in the Europa League against Rapid Vienna earlier this week.

He has since stolen a fair few headlines after his impressive display but Alan Smith, the former Gunners striker, believes that Gabriel is the club’s unsung hero after his displays this term.

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The club have only lost once with Gabriel on the pitch, going down 1-0 to Manchester City last weekend.

Writing in his Evening Standard column, as transcribed by Metro, he said: “I want to mention Gabriel, something of an unsung hero since arriving this summer.

“He is one of those central defenders you do not always notice, thanks to his positioning and anticipation. Because of that, he will often get his body in the way or head on the ball — something proper defenders always enjoy.

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“A great athlete, he covers the ground beautifully, which should come in handy with Vardy around. And at 22, the Brazilian will only get better.

“The early signs suggest he will be around for a while.”

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

Yeah, Smith has nailed this.

Gabriel has brought an aura of calmness to the backline, such are his anticipatory attributes and his fine tackling ability.

The Gunners have long needed that, having suffered through the spells of David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi among others.

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Manager Arteta is, of course, building a new squad that he hopes will be capable of challenging for major honours.

Gabriel could be a key part of that as the season progresses.

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