There is a handy fitness boost to improve Arsenal’s chances of success in Monte Carlo Tuesday evening, with the return of Gabriel.
The Gunners head into the second leg of their last 16 tie against Monaco with the hope of overturning a 3-1 deficit. Much as the task at hand would require scoring at least three goals, it would be a game also where a good defensive input would be required, which makes the Brazilian’s return important.
“Gabriel travelled and is available. Chamberlain did not travel, Rosicky did not travel, he comes back from sickness.” The manager said in his pre-match address, according to Arsenal.com
Gabriel has made four appearances since his January move from Villareal but has yet to appear in the Champions League. He was on the bench for the defeat at the Emirates in February and Mertesacker’s performance on the day saw calls from fans for the 24-year old to be given more starting time to challenge the German. A mixed game against Everton was followed by just about 20 minutes at QPR where he picked up the hamstring injury that had kept him out until now.
Wenger intimated that the returning Brazilian defender would take up Chuba Apkom’s place from the squad against West Ham on Saturday. Le Prof will likely stick with Mertesacker and Koscielny for this game as they have been pretty decent in the last two games, even if the standing captain has not failed to show some signs of getting sucked into challenges on a few occasions.
The boss will be desperate for a more mature performance at the back as the Arsenal attack looks capable of scoring more than a couple of goals, if the London derby last weekend is anything to go by. Perhaps the man who scored the consolation goal of the reverse fixture would be missed as the Ox’s pace and energy would have provided definite width. Welbeck and Walcott will now have to impress and show that they could be as important.
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