Gabriel Magalhaes says his first season in England was very much a learning experience, and that he now feels better placed to be the defensive anchor that the team needs.

He arrived from France last summer for a fee of £27.5m, but had a difficult first campaign, with some injury problems, a suspension, a bout with Covid-19, and more. He also missed out on winning a gold medal with Brazil’s successful Olympics team due to a knee problem which kept him out of our first three Premier League fixtures.

However, in recent weeks he has returned to add some defensive solidity, and he now feels more comfortable in general, and with the language, something he feels is a significant issue.

“I think, more than anything on the pitch, the language was the biggest difficulty for me in terms of adapting,” he told Sky Sports. “There are a lot of players here who speak French, Portuguese and Spanish but in this country, you have to speak English and that was tough for me.

“My English still isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely a lot better than it was and that’s helping me a lot.”

He also talked about his newly developing partnership with recent arrival Ben White, and the kind of defending they want to produce each week.

“Ben and I have each had a full season in the Premier League now and we’re getting to know it much better,” he said.

“We still need to connect even more but we are improving and developing with every game and that bodes well for the rest of the season.

“We want to be a very intense and aggressive defence.”

That commitment was demonstrated fully in last week’s North London derby win, during which Harry Kane fell over, and the Brazilian is keen to replicate that in every game, crediting manager Mikel Arteta for the clarity of his instructions.

“It’s very important to have that battling spirit, that desire to win, when you’re out on the pitch,” he said. “We want to win every game but also every ball and every duel.

“We saw the way the fans reacted to every important tackle and every good pass on Sunday, not just the goals. We need to have that passion throughout every game, every time the ball is there to be won. Having that support from the fans pushes us forward.

“The manager wants his central defenders to defend well, first and foremost. He wants us to know the moments to attack and the moments to defend. That’s what we are trying to do, and we know now when to drop deep and when to push up.

“Having good timing on the pitch is essential and he talks to us about that a lot.”

Let’s hope they can continue this recent spell of good form against Brighton today.

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Johnny 4 Hats

Wow. When you think about it, we’ve got an £125m back line at the club. That’s pretty mental. And all signed in the last 3 years. Add in Ramsdale and it’s over £150m.

This back line looks like it’s going to be great. And for that price, it kind of has to be.

We’re one of the richest clubs in the world with a billionaire owner, so a back 5 with an average cost of £30m each is reasonable enough business. In fact pretty good value considering none of them have peaked yet.

Johnny 4 Hats

I suppose it’s not so bad, when you put it like that. It’s definitely top 6 money though.

Everything is also offset by the fact we have £150m of talent in two players in the first XI which are homegrown, locally sourced, organic, free range, fair trade little beauties.

Finsbury Park Gooner

Best description of our Hale End boys I’ve ever heard!

Scwibble

Even forgotten about the £27mil spent on Saliba who will return next season to fight for his place.

Johnny 4 Hats

I dunno. Most recent news story suggests he isn’t coming back if he’s going to sit on the bench.

We know already what will happen. He comes back and does exactly that and we tank his value before selling him for £10m to Dortmund who we then have to buy him back from for £80m three seasons later.

Scwibble

Here’s hoping we make top 4 and we get rid off deadwood like chambers holding Mari kolasinac bellerin, and offer him a chance to actually try and stake his claim. How do teams like city and Chelsea Liverpool utd keep world-class players happy as bench warmers? Money and competitiveness, most importantly competitiveness in Europe because they feel like they can be a part of a winning squad and fill in when there will be injuries which there will be inevitably.

I haven’t lost hope of Saliba personally, I think he’ll come back hungry.

Joe

So… you think we shouldn’t have any backup defenders? I too want to see saliba come back and fight for a place, but if we get rid of all those guys you mention we’d only have the starters plus saliba, tavares, and cedric (who i’d get rid of before hector, chambers, or holding).

You need another 2 people for each position these days i think, though maybe if you’re comfortable with amn as cover at rb then we’d only need 3 specialist defenders as backups.

Really Dave?

“We want to be a very intense and aggressive defence.”

Sounds like a phrase Leonidas would have said.

Let’s try and break down Brighton the same way they took the Persians down.

COYG

Johnny 4 Hats

Now I’ve got a mental image of Maupay’s face on that big freak with all the metal shit in his face.

Snagger

Your example doesn’t seem to have gone down well 😉

Nkem Peter.

Our defence looks better organized with Gabriel. I wish the team the best of luck as we aim to win today’s match.

Abdullah Bakar

It a good thing to have a big dominant defender, we have to be robust and slick in our play. Let’s keep the momentum going and get the 3point today. Soaring higher let’s go Boys

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

“We want to be a very intense and aggressive defence.”

Isn’t that kind of what keeps getting Xhaka into trouble?

Maybe they’re going to try a different tack and engage their brains to do it.

Tankard Gooner

Being aggressive doesn’t mean flying into tackles. It’s more to do with how you close down attacking spaces, press the forwards to the extent their harried asses want to get subbed off and deal with clearing first/second balls.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

He could be our first real legendary centre back since Sol and Kolo. He has all the attributes to be one of the best around.

No love for 3 FA Cup medals Mertesacker?

Scwibble

To be an Arsenal great/legend you have to win the prem and dominate over a period of time. Those are the levels of Arsenal, it’s why I feel bad for Ozil and Sanchez because they deserved a team around them that could match their peak output to actually win something. Really and truly what drives me mad is, how we’ve shown the world we can spend £150mil in one window after a pandemic, but back when we needed 2-3 world class additions we only got Cech and couldn’t push Leicester to win league. We didn’t spend that money to secure… Read more »

Brendan

The way you put it is heartbreaking, we really should have won that year.

SarcasmB0T

Per was alright, but he was never in Sol and Kolo’s league.

That doesn’t mean I have no love for him. On the contrary, I also have a lot of love for “2 FA Cup medals” Holding. And Kim Kallstrom.

I find it very easy to love Arsenal players who’ve won stuff – unless they go around insulting fans and throwing the captain’s armband on the ground.

Scwibble

To be an Arsenal great/legend you have to win the prem and dominate over a period of time. Those are the levels of Arsenal, it’s why I feel bad for Ozil and Sanchez because they deserved a team around them that could match their peak output to actually win something. Really and truly what drives me mad is, how we’ve shown the world we can spend £150mil in one window after a pandemic, but back when we needed 2-3 world class additions we only got Cech and couldn’t push Leicester to win league. We didn’t spend that money to secure… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Love for him, yes.

Think he reached the level of the two I mentioned, or their status, no.

Daveo

Koscienly was easily our best defender since sol and kolo. At his peak he was one of the best in the league.

Henkamp

Yep. Underrated by a lot of our fans and rival fans. I remember “peak” Aguero being questioned once on his toughest opponent that season, he straight up said Koscielny.

Wrighty’s hats

It’s stretching my memory a bit, I think I remember between the two of them (Koscielny + Per) they had their share of injury problems – but when they were both fit and playing together, they were an exceptionally solid unit. Reminiscing about when Koscielny was one of the highest rated centre backs in the league. (Gutted he had to leave but all good things must come to an end.)

Hoping this season we see as solid of a unit between Gabriel and White – I miss all of the clean sheets we used to get all those years ago!

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Koscielny had 1 good season where his pace bailed him out and he made many last ditch tackles. The fact hat he was always in the situation says lots about his defending. Most memories of him were being injury prone, clumsy at times, and the leader of a defence constantly conceding 4/5/6 goals against the big teams in the league/Champions league. It’s easy to see your own as being better than what they were. It’s only a year ago when Elneny was a top class midfielder on this site. Didn’t Arsene say that everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife… Read more »

Joe

Koscielny?

Bleeding gums murphy

Silveste ?

Partey gonna shoot

Another solid CB to give competition to Gabriel & White and a back up RB (someone young like Tavares with potential to compete for the first team)in the next summer window..
If we execute this, we truly will have a solid defensive unit through which we can manage potential injuries and next seasons UCL.

Gunner

We have Saliba. He’s been performing well according to various reports. Also we have a lot of clatter that we need to clear at right back. Maitland-Niles can always fill in

EmileSmithWhoa

We also have versatility. Tomi, Tavares, Chambers, Ainsley and Tierney among others can allow some juggling of positions when injuries occur. We will seemingly be able to do this much better than most clubs with these players. Between our youth and this defensive adaptability… Arteta is doing a splendomagnificent job for the future of this club. We should all respect that. We should all be grateful.

Graeb

More of a job today, can’t see Brighton giving us the same room in midfield. Aggression in safe parts of pitch called for and standing up to aggressive attackers.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Really curious to see if Lokonga comes in for Xhaka in the same formation as last week, or if Pepe comes in for Xhaka for the same formation as against Burnley.

EmileSmithWhoa

I also relish either choice or other options. I bet Elneny and AMN would/could also look very good with Partey. I seem to remember one game last year where Partey and Mo had a great afternoon together. As I noted above, we have really good options, flexibility and alternatives….well played Mr. Arteta.

Runnings

Seems to be well coached and taking it well.
COYGs

Billy bob

I quickly compared results from this season with last and currently we are four points down – gained points by beating Burnley but dropped points by losing to chavski (although they are a different entity this season). Last season we beat Brighton away so need to do the same this season!!!