'Doesn't make sense': Ferdinand wonders why Arsenal man's form has faded

Nathaniel Kay April 6, 2021
'Doesn't make sense': Ferdinand wonders why Arsenal man's form has faded
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand has picked out Gabriel as one of several Arsenal centre-backs who have really frustrated him this season, speaking on Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE.

Arsenal’s defensive deficiencies were on display again during Saturday’s Premier League defeat at home to Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side ran out 3-0 winners at the Emirates, with the Gunners offering a whimper rather than a bang.

Once again Mikel Arteta decided to juggle his central defenders, starting Gabriel and Rob Holding together for the first time since a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in February.

David Luiz missed the game through injury, with Pablo Mari left on the bench.

Ferdinand fears for Arsenal defenders

Ferdinand was heavily critical of Arsenal’s centre-half selections, emphasising Gabriel as one of the main culprits regarding inconsistency.

The former Manchester United man said: “(Arsenal) have gone from having rocks at the back to not being able to sign a good centre-half.

“I just don’t understand. They’ve signed so many. There are so many who come through that have a good game, then it all capitulates.

“I watched Gabriel on the first day of the season against Fulham and I thought: ‘Oh, he looks alright.’

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“You can never judge a player on one game, I know that, but on the one-off I thought: ‘He looks quick, aggressive, got a nice left foot.’

“But then it just folds. It doesn’t make sense. I can’t get my head around it.”

Gabriel not so golden

Gabriel joined the Gunners in September for £23.14 million (BBC Sport) from Lille. He has made 25 appearances in all competitions since.

However, despite showing glimpses of quality, the Brazil international has yet to set north London alight with his performances.

Arteta isn’t short on options

Shortly before Gabriel signed for the Gunners, Mari joined the club in a £14 million deal (Metro) from Flamengo.

He too is struggling in his new surroundings, mainly hampered by injury.

Arteta also has William Saliba on his books, although the Frenchman was sent on loan to Nice in January because he wasn’t getting a look in with the first team.

Add to that an aging Luiz and a hit-and-miss Holding and Arsenal’s centre-back options leave a lot to be desired.  

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"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."