Gabriel Magalhaes last played a competitive game of football on March 8th, when he featured in Lille’s 1-0 over Lyon.
Today he scored a goal, was the team’s leading passer, and helped the Gunners keep a clean sheet in the 3-0 win over Fulham in what was officially a man of the match performance.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted he’d have liked to have given him more time to settle in, but with David Luiz, Sokratis, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi all unavailable, he was asked be the anchor in a three man central defence on his debut.
He acquitted himself very well, impressing his manager and fans in the process. Speaking afterwards, Arteta said, “Ideally I wanted to give him some time because he’s only trained a few days with the team and physically he hasn’t played a competitive match in six months.
“So obviously there was a risk of injury as well, but credit to him because he performed really well physically, he felt good and he was a handful today.
“With Gabriel it was a big challenge for him to come in today having not played any football for the last six months and he had a terrific performance.”
The Spaniard was also very happy to get the season off to such a positive start.
“I don’t think it gets much better than that,” he said.
“I think it’s really good for the players, for their confidence, for their belief, and to settle in the group quickly.
“It’s always a challenge when you bring in new players but the way they played today and the commitment they showed with the boys, it was terrific.”