Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal should have won against Fulham.
Broadcaster Piers Morgan has pointed out the worrying relationship between Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and one of his defenders Gabriel, claiming that the situation is reminiscent of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s final few months at the club. Gabriel has failed to start a single Premier League game so far this season, leaving many perplexed after being one of the key contributors to last year’s title push.
Despite a long-term injury to Jurrien Timber and his replacement Takehiro Tomiyasu suspended for his red card against Crystal Palace, once again Gabriel was not selected to start and this time it was Jakub Kiwior who got the nod against Fulham.
Arteta has recently preferred a system that sees Thomas Partey invert to midfield from right-back, with Ben White and William Saliba preferred centrally but Gabriel has not been given the opportunity to stake a claim for that spot on the left-side of the defence.
When Morgan saw the starting line-up that Arteta had selected he noticed that Gabriel was not involved once again and took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to detail his curiosity. He wrote: “What’s going on between Arteta and Gabriel? Has an Aubameyang feel to it..”
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Before later adding: “I don’t get Arteta changing our whole system to accommodate Havertz. Just isn’t working. Put Gabriel back in next to Saliba, move White to right back, and stick Partey in the middle where he belongs. And take off [Kai]Havertz.”
Morgan compared Gabriel’s situation to Aubemeyang after the now-Marseille striker’s relationship with Arteta publicly broke down and he went from being the Gunners’ star man and captain to an outcast after failing to gain the trust of his head coach.
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Aubameyang scored twice as Arsenal defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the 2020 FA Cup final to secure the first silverware of Arteta’s managerial career, but less than a year later he was dropped for disciplinary reasons in the north London derby and his Arsenal career appeared to be on the rocks.
The following season he was dropped from the squad against Southampton, once again for disciplinary reasons, before being stripped of the captaincy three days later and then he left the club by mutual consent and joined Barcelona on a free transfer.
Despite Arteta’s public admissions that Gabriel is a key part of his plans amid interest from Juventus and Saudi Arabia, his actions have been louder than words.
The Brazilian and Oleksandr Zinchenko – who has been building up his fitness after an injury-hit pre-season – are the only two defenders at the club seemingly in Arteta’s plans yet to start in the Premier League, with Morgan among those fearful of an Aubameyang repeat.
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