Arteta impressed by ‘leader’ Pablo Mari

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Pablo Mari would probably tell you his first year at Arsenal hasn’t exactly gone to plan but Mikel Arteta says the Spaniard is now being rewarded for his hard work and positive attitude.

Signed on loan from Fluminense Flamengo this time last year, the 27-year-old spent his first weeks in London getting match fit following the end of his season in Brazil. He didn’t make his debut for the Gunners until early March and was just picking up momentum when the UK went into lockdown.

When he suffered a bad ankle injury after nine minutes of the first game back against former club Manchester City, it felt like the gods were conspiring against him. It took him five months to recover, but he’s now making a big impression at the Emirates.

In fact, excluding the short-lived cameo at the Etihad, the centre-back has made eight appearances for the Gunners in total and we’ve won them all, including a recent run of four consecutive victories.

Having made Pablo’s transfer permanent in the summer, Arteta is obviously pleased.

“We had to throw him in because we had some injuries and suspensions, it probably wasn’t really fair for him because he’s missed a lot of football in the last year,” the boss said after the win over Newcastle. 

“But he’s a leader, he’s someone that trains really hard, he’s a professional, a great communicator on the pitch and he gives you some security and stability.”

“I think he’s done really well with Rob [Holding], he was really good again today with David [Luiz], three clean sheets in a row and he fully deserves the chance to play.

“[He was] really positive when he wasn’t playing, when he was injured and when he is playing, he is the same person all the time, trying to help everybody, really professional, really eager to improve to give his best all the time in any capacity and any role and I think he is getting rewarded by his attitude.”

While reports linger that Arsenal will make a right-sided centre-back a priority next summer, Pablo, who plays on the left, looks well-placed to consolidate his place in the manager’s thinking, especially with Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz likely to leave the club next summer.

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goongot

left footed per ❤️

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

Good composure needs to improve his distribution and short passes. His passes are usually weak and slow and his long balls are floated instead of direct with pace. the floated long balls give opposition time to recover from a switch where as Gabriel pings his long balls like a bullet. The opposition has no time to recover and it gives us an advantage when we switch play and go long. Also Mari’s short passes are so soft and weak the Gk or other play is left standing waiting for the ball to arrive because its so soft and it puts… Read more »

Rashid

Signed from Flamengo** not fluminense. Agree with arteta though.

C.B.

I’ve been impressed though he did have a lot of quality given the level he got to in Brazil. Would love us to find more of these types of players, younger, cheaper but can do something great for the team.

Rather than older, more expensive and on the way down (no names).

C.B.

And with Mari and Gariel left footed and Holding and Saliba right footed, isn’t that fine for our back four (assuming Saliba plays well in France)?

I’d rather we spent time improving our midfield.

Man Manny

Arsenal might sell Saliba to Nice in summer.

Biggles

Latest reports suggest Saliba wants a permanent move away – and who can really blame him – so your suggestion may be scuppered. If he doesn’t go, then you’re right that we’ve got a pretty good set up regarding the back four.

OnlyBeingHonest

He was MOTM in his second game for Nice

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

It’s been a while since we had 2 good left footed central defenders.

Daveo

It’s been a while since we had 2 good left footed central defenders.

Biggles

Yes, that’s very true. It’s really quite ridiculous that a club like Arsenal can have saddled itself with so many very average (being polite) defenders over such a long period. Let’s face it, most of them wouldn’t get through the doors of the training grounds at other so-called “big” clubs. Anyway, looks like we’re finally addressing that long-term problem.

Qwaliteee

Well said.

We don’t always see eye to eye, but I’m definitely with you on this one.

Our defence has largely been abysmal since the gradual departure of the Invincibles. Wenger’s class of 2013-17 would have achieved so much more with a decent defence. A lot of people forget how close we were to that title that Leicester City eventually won. That should have been ours and Wenger’s farewell present.

Arsenalnut

Its been awhile since we had two good, healthy, central defenders at the same time.

Dave Cee

I’m struggling to remember the last 1 we had, nevermind 2 :/

goongot

vermalean ?

Public Elneny

Vermaelen was good for a bit. So, like 2009?

Finsbury Park Gooner

Errr Koscielny?!

Public Elneny

If Koscielny was actually left footed he must have been too shit scared of being drowned for witchcraft to use it much

Public Elneny

Oh ffs, no one has any reading comprehension

Paul

You are right, I always read your name as “public enemy”

Tayo

Is Saliba so bad that he’s not even been considered for next season even as 4th/5th choice? We bought this kid for over 20 million pounds!!!

Jeremy DG

Dude just stop with this. We know the reasons and what is done is done. he will be with us next year all the stronger. Mari, Luiz, Holding, Gabriel and maybe even Chambers will do fine for the rest of this season.

Tayo

I wasn’t referring to this season, what I asked was a simple question. Was just wondering why we’d consider buying another right footed centre half for next season when the one we bought for over 20 million hasn’t kicked a ball yet.

Tayo

Actions like this got us where we are, having about 7 centre backs but just very few reliable ones.

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

Luiz is gone in the summer he is out of contract and I don’t expect him to get a new contract

OnlyBeingHonest

Jeremy for the win

Adam

It starts to look a lot like Gabriel and X with Holding and Mari as nice backups. With no future for Sokratis, Mustafi, Luiz and Chambers. Only question is if Saliba is Mr. X. or we go for somebody else…

Dave

I’d say Holding is X at the moment. But it’s hard to drop Mari on current form.

Dave

And obviously would be awkward to play Gabriel and Mari together as they are both lefties.

AussieGooner

But that does give us options to rest Tierney in weaker games I would think. One of Mari or Gab as left back might work. Not like we are short of left wingers to pick up the offensive slack.

Public Elneny

Why is that anymore awkward than 2 righties played together – which probably most teams still do with little issue?

AussieGooner

That is bloody good point. Haha, so true. Why not indeed.

onenil

We usually attack on the left with Auba and Tierney. A left footed CB more naturally hits the long ball to the right.

Dave

Unsure why onenil is down voted here. It’s all to do with opening up the pitch for distribution. That’s why we signed two LCB.

Note the issues that Guardiola has faced with LCB as well, and his insistence on playing a left footer there too.

There’s a good Athletic article on it.

JB_

Yeah this is interesting to bring up now though because I read that too, but now he’s playing Stones there instead of Laporte anyway due to his good form, which kinda just validates this point even more – having two good CBs is way more important than having a left/right footed combo, even for Pep.

Crash Fistfight

Probably because left-footed players tend to be so one-footed that playing on the right side causes a problem in terms of their passing out. But having said that, surely a left-footer passing to the right back would be less likely to result in a pass too-far ahead of him?

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

Why is it awkward to play 2 lefties and its perfectly fine to play 2 righties??? I don’t think its awkward at all to play both Mari and Gabriel together.

Dave

https://www.google.com/amp/s/theathletic.co.uk/2049395/2020/09/08/explained-left-foot-centre-back-ake-laporte/%3famp

Maybe awkward was the wrong choice of words but it seems sensible to have a left footer to open up play to the left and a right footer to do the same on the right.

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

yes thats deal that’s why we bought them for this exact reason but IF for any reason we don’t have any fit right CB available there’s no reason we can’t play 2 Left footed CB same way teams play 2 right footed CB’s

S.p2

I’m not against having five centre backs heading into next season. If Saliba is as green as Arteta asserts, then I wouldn’t be against keeping Chambers (who can also play RB) or dipping into the market for another back up player. Gabriel, Holding, Marí, Saliba and X would be my ideal scenario…

Dave Cee

I agree totally with these comments. He looks composed, confident and stable on the pitch. If he makes a mistake he just gets on with playing, none of this headless chicken stuff we have seen from others. I like what he brings to the team. Gabriel has a fight on his hands, which is great ( he was looking a little like the pace of the 1st 4 months was catching up with him anyway )

Vincent Ives

Gabriel obviously has a higher ceiling, but it would be a little irritating if Gab automatically gets his place back when he’s eligible. Mari really is our new Per.

Dave

Remember when everyone got angry we gave him a deal?

Cedric really hasn’t been bad as a backup either.

AussieGooner

I’m not necessarily filthy about Cedric, it is more why when we have AMN twiddling his thumbs.

Dave

Because AMN is a utility player and not a right back, probably.

Cycs

Maybe coz AMN is listed as a midfielder this season. 🤷🏾‍♂️

Eddy F

Arteta says he wants 4-5 CB’s, and clearly he wants 2 left footed. At the start of next season we will have Gabriel, Mari, Holding, Chambers, Saliba. If the rumours are to be believed we are looking for an experienced RCB to be first choice. That means one of Holding, Chambers or Saliba is leaving in the summer. Holding and Chambers are both HG players, while Saliba doesn’t need to be registered for the PL as he is still under-21. Do we need to be careful with our non-HG quota of players next season (will be 17), especially as we… Read more »

Dave

I think this new RCB rumour spells the end Saliba if true.

I’m not opposed to the loan (should’ve happened at the start of the season, though) but seems bizarre that we may never see him play for the first team.

AussieGooner

I like him a lot, I was impressed with Gabriel, still am, but he has been on the edge of getting sent off in most games he has played – his arms swinging and his challenges have had me holding my breath a few times. But Mari definitely has an air of composure about him, and the picture Blogs has chosen is bang on, he seems to be developing a good relationship with Tierney. His reaction to Tierney’s goal was superb. I would love to see us build a defence that is there to compliment the full backs. Relationship is… Read more »

Public Elneny

I don’t really get why we have to have a leftie at LCB and a rightie at RCB. It’s never been an issue in the past. Even Guardiola’s most aesthetically pure sides weren’t bound by this rule. I get it makes it safer for a cb to turn out to play a pass to their full back or down the line. But in practice it just seems to contribute slightly to our horseshoe nature

Anyone else think Mari is more handsome than Giroud btw?

onenil

Downvoted only for the Mari v Giroud comparison. Only one winner there!

JB_

I do think it’s ideal for playing out of the back, but like you say, Pep is now playing Stones/Dias anyway and has benched Laporte/Ake because it’s working..

Would be a bit weird initially playing Mari/Gabriel but I think it could work – Mari is composed/reads the game/covers well and Gabriel is aggressive/front-footed

Having two good CBs and a good partnership/balance is more important than having a left/right footed combo.

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

Mari doesn’t pass the ball with purpose. When Mari passes the ball it’s so soft the other player or GK is left waiting for the ball to arrive. It puts us under unnecessary pressure. That’s the only thing about Mari I’m not a fan of. His distribution is weak. Gabriel passes with purpose. Zip sharp incisive passes not weak soft passes. He pings the ball long and hard Mari floats the ball in the air and never gets to intended target. The idea is there but the execution is usually lacking. Sometimes the ball hangs so long in the air… Read more »

Vonnie

Giroud was never handsome, he just had a good body, and he looks hideous with that awful beard, Pablo wins hands down.

BeantownGunner

Dunno… I’m not a great judge of what makes a fella handsomer than another. So I’ll offer this anecdotal evidence in Giroud’s favor. My wife, who literally could not care less about sport, any sport, and never takes any notice of the action, time, score, anything, once stopped passing through the room with HFB fleetingly on the screen to ask, “Who’s that?” I had to laugh!

So far, in limited opportunities, she has lodged no inquiries about Mari. I’ll keep you all updated if and when that changes.

Biggles

We clearly need to revamp the central defence – particularly as several of the massed ranks of those defenders are leaving in the summer (and not before time in most cases). If the likes of Mari and Holding can step up and really improve the quality in that position – admittedly from a pretty low base – then all the better and more power to them.

Hi-Jay

Fluminese..? you mean Flamengo, Blogs?

Qwaliteee

So far, so good. No complaints from me.

Added bonus; he’s not Mustafi.

Vonnie'

He’s a good defender and seems like a really nice person, I like how he’s been a friend to Gabi during their injury time together and how he hugged him after the game. He’ll get better with more game time and we’ll start seeing those long passes reach their target, I think he was a good signing and they absolutely love him at Flamengo.

Teryima Adi

Pablo Mari is our Picasso who etches the masterpieces on the turf.

santori

I think its clear the triumvate we need to build on is Mari, Gabriel and HOlding. Then Luiz will carry on till end of season but not past. Saliba many feel he is up to it but as I mentioned before we signed him, jury still out with him and his performances were over too few matches to ascertain let alone spend 27m on. Otherwise we have this new chap Omar Rekik gestating (not to mention Mavro albeit I think his time is up and he was never really as good as some preferred to see him) That leaves Musatfi… Read more »

Gabrigoal

Errr chambers, saliba and Gabriel can all play as right sided cb

Why would they want to sign another right sided cb.

Where did this information come from? Does that mean another year on loan for saliba? Is he being sold?

Gabrigoal

Pablo Mari emailed us to play 4 at the back

And when Holding hit some form under Emery we finally started playing a back 4.

Seems that none of the managers trusts any other players to form a back 4 cb partnership

Raul killed off our best left sided cb in Kos and also oversaw the withdrawal of the contract offer to Ramsey who is exactly what we need right now, an attacking player who also works tirelessly defensively

Gabrigoal

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