Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes is a symbol of the team’s new-found defensive prowess
Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes lost a tooth during the game in Brighton… the Brazilian is willing to put his body on the line and is a symbol of their newfound defensive strength
- Gabriel Magalhaes put his body on both sides for Arsenal in Brighton
- The Brazilian went looking for a missing tooth on the field after the game
- Arsenal finally look like a reliable unit in defense under Mikel Arteta
- But their hunt for chemistry in attack continues after a blunt display in Brighton
Again after meeting Brighton, Gabriel Magalhaes emerged from the Arsenal dressing room long after the final whistle and went back to the pitch to search one of the penalty areas for a missing tooth.
The same thing happened, oddly enough, after Arsenal’s 2-0 home win against Brighton on the last day of last season.
At the Amex, he got the precious punch in the face when he challenged Seagulls goalkeeper Robert Sanchez and defender Lewis Dunk for a corner in the second half.
Gabriel Magalhaes was in a combative mood on both sides of the pitch for Arsenal in Brighton
He lost a tooth for the second time against Brighton after clashing with goalkeeper Robert Sanchez
Gabriel was just as willing to risk his body on the other end of the line as well. At one point during Brighton’s late push for a winner, he stood firm to take the full force of a thumping effort from Alexis Mac Allister that could have knocked him over.
It was a blockage that summed up the determination to keep the ball out of the net shared by every member of the Arsenal defense – goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel and Kieran Tierney.
They were all busy during this stalemate, making crucial interceptions to get a third nil in the four league games they played together. Just a month ago, when Arsenal’s defense looked very different, this is the kind of game they would have lost.
It’s been a long time since Arsenal had a whole defensive unit they could rely on. A summer period of questioning their transfer approach has shown that Arteta is ready to put his trust – and so far, so good.
The Brazilian was seen looking for a tooth remnant after working full time at AMEX
“It inspires the belief that they can do it, that they complement each other very well,” Arteta said of his side’s defensive performance.
“It was really positive and one of the things I take out of the game, that we had the resilience in difficult moments to get a result outdoors.”
Their hunt for the same front chemistry continues. The attacking unit that was razor sharp against Tottenham was blunt in Brighton.
If it had been a one off, it might have been easier to accept for Arteta, but Arsenal have only scored five goals in seven league games.
Gabriel (right) is part of a defense that has netted three times in four Arsenal games
The Spaniard said: ‘Our defensive record over the past month has been really good. We have to think about what we can improve.’
Credit must also go to Brighton to limit the threat from Arsenal. It took Graham Potter’s side until January last season to reach the 14 points they have already reached this time.
Their confidence was evident when they dominated, although the finishing touches they have rediscovered more often than not this campaign eluded them.
At the rear, however, there was even more evidence of increased firmness that supported their results.
The Gunners were under pressure against the high-flying Seagulls, but got another shutout
White’s £50m move to Arsenal has seen Brighton replace a man eager to get involved with Shane Duffy, who is content to focus on staying behind.
Asked about the defensive improvement, Potter said: “There is a real desire to keep the ball out of the net and defend collectively.
“It starts with Neal Maupay up front and ends with Robert. That’s the only way to do it in this competition.
“We were talking for a while about how bad our record was, so it’s amazing how it turns around.”