Showing posts with label Gabriel Paulista. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gabriel Paulista. Show all posts

24 April 2017

About this 3-4-3 of ours, is it the Arsènor's New Clothes?

It was a shift borne of desperation. Having conceded 25 goals across nine fixtures, some kind of shake-up was desperately needed, if only for the sake of shaking things up. After all, it's one thing to conceded five to Bayern. It's quite another to concede three to West Brom. Or again to Crystal Palace. Whatever the case, the shake-up had to happen. The only real question was whether this would happen in the squad or the front-office. With Arsenal's fortunes fading fast, we at least got the former. Whether the latter is still necessary is an open question. For now, let's take a closer look at how well this 3-4-3 worked. After all, we won two in a row for the first time since January. Surely, there's something in it?

28 December 2015

Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth: Vote for Player Ratings/MotM!

Gabriel headed home his first Arsenal goal in the first half from Özil's corner-kick, to which Özil coolly delivered a goal of his own in the second (assisted by Giroud), and Arsenal eased past AFC Bournemouth and to the top of the table, at least for a few days pending the result of Mancester City's visit to King Power Stadium to visit Leicester. That one could be a barn-burner—I'm still of a mind to hope Leicester win there—but we can only take care of the squad in front of us. Thankfully, we're back to winning ways. Petr Čech gets his record-setting 170th clean sheet in the Prem, Özil has his 16th Prem assist, and Gabriel opens his account. Good times were had by all. Get down to the poll to rate the lads' efforts!

22 September 2015

Avenging Angel Gabriel's ban rescinded by FA

To the satisfaction of Gooners, Gabriel's three-match suspension for violent conduct has been withdrawn in the FA's own words "with immediate effect." He is still "subject to a separate FA charge of improper conduct in relation to Saturday's game and has until 6pm on Thursday [24 September 2015] to reply.
Amazingly, this confirms what many of us suspected knew, namely, that Mike Dean doesn't know his head from his arse (although the latter may be more require a bit more waxing, sugaring, or plucking).  What a week. Arsène gets away with criticising a referee, calling Mike Dean "weak", the FA overrules a ref while simultaneously getting something right, and we get a red-card rescinded. About the only element missing here is retrospective action on Diego Costa's thuggery and Mike Dean's imcompetenc-cum-bias.

The FA has charged Costa with "an alleged act of violent conduct," and he has until 6pm Tuesday (today) to reply. A panel of three former elite referees ould then decide whether to book Costa, which would lead to a retroactive three-match ban. While none of this would change the outcome of Saturday's match, we at Arsenal can at least start to feel like there's some degree of justice, however delayed, in these proceedings.

20 September 2015

Plucky 12-man Chelsea squeeze past nine-man Arsenal

STAMFORD BRIDGE—In a stirring display of tenacity, grit, and acumen, an undermatched and historically underfunded rag-tag collective of misfits bravely overcame all odds, drawing on every single ounce of moxie at its disposal in order to narrowly eke out a win that will be talked of through the ages. Despite never catching a single break in this match or in any other prior, and despite having to watch each and every halfpenny for decades. Chelsea's dozen screwed their courage to the sticking spot and road Lady Luck's coat-tails to victory over Arsenal's nine. Never before and perhaps never again will we see one side overcome such short odds to achieve victory.

26 April 2015

There's no way Arsenal can lose. Period.

This one is for all the marbles. Okay, no. Not really. Chelsea seem to have the Prem all sewn up. Even if we do win, it would still take an epic collapse from Chelsea to open up any opportunity for us to win the Prem. However, the match is like a microcosm for each club’s very different approaches and aspirations. For all of the hatred and vitriol spewed back and forth, Arsenal can’t lose—even if we do.

24 April 2015

Chelsea-Arsenal Preview: The Brazilian Betrayer and the avenging Gabriel

There is a traitor in our midst, someone who will switch allegiances at the merest whiff of lucre or silverware. At first glance, one might think that we're again autopsying Fàbregas's flight. I'm done flogging that little horse, however. For what it's worth, Fàbregas's betrayal was not in going to Stamford Bridge; it was in fleeing the Emirates. He's just another Nasri or van Persie in my eyes. Instead, there's another, deeper betrayal on my mind: that of Diego Costa. It's one thing to switch when a club starts talking about weekly wages; it's quite another when a country starts beckoning with the "come hither" gazes. Diego Costa, Diego da Silva Costa, formerly known in the Brazilian way as simply Diego, was once one of Brazil's finest. However, the Beast of Brazil bolted for Spain. Something in me wonders if our own Brazilian might have something to say about that...

05 March 2015

Gabriel's gone. Sánchez sizzled. Giroud? Jury's still out.

So we've come through another win, one good enough to keep us in third place for at least another few weeks as the Prem by and large takes a break until the weekend of 14 March. We won, but so too did everone else in the top eight positions, and so the table will remain unchanged until then. For now, we can enjoy another match in which we again scored twice—the eleventh time we've done so in our last 12 outings (the exception being that abomination against AS Monaco...). As we approach the run-in, we do seem to be rounding into form, at least in the Prem if not the FA Cup. With just ten matches left to play, we're just ahead of a pack of rivals in a mad-dash for third place—with an eye on third. A closer look at our squad suggests that we have it in us to fend off that pack and perhaps close in on second.

02 March 2015

Gabriel answers the call; BFG is put on hold...

Amidst the glow of a win that sends us back to third place (and, apparently, increases our chances of a top-four finish to 84.4% if you believe GoalImpact), one stand-out performance was that of Gabriel Paulista, who made his Prem debut and overcame some early-match jitters to deliver a stellar performance. While he did very well in his first start against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round, he had to adjust to playing alongside three new teammates (Ospina, Coquelin, and Bellerín) and to the somewhat more-intense challenges posed by Everton. Don't let their table-position fool you—on paper, this is still very much the squad that briefly eclipsed us a season ago. Gabriel stepped up to deliver a competent if not commanding performance, one good enough to earn him a 7.56 in our ratings-poll. Was his performance good enough to bench the BFG permanently?

12 February 2015

Danke schön, Poldi; Auf wiedersehen, Per?

How do you solve a problem like Mertesacker? On one hand, he's become one of the most likable, affable members of the squad. His pairing with Laurent Koscielny had built a firm foundation for the defense, with the pair reaching in early 2014 an unbeaten streak of 31 games (ending in the ignominious 5-1 loss at Anfield). On the other hand, his Achilles' Heel has been two-fold—his pairing with Koscielny is only as good as Koscielny's Achilles, and his own pace is his weakest spot. We've known this since he first joined the club in 2011; the problem has only worsened as he's aged. With his bestest buddy Poldi having been loaned out to Inter, could we soon be bidding auf wiedersehen to Per as well?

02 February 2015

Arsenal's transfer dealings: in with a bang, out with a whimper...

Now is the winter of our discontent. Every January, we pin our hopes to a miraculous mid-season signing only to see those hopes crumble ( mention Källström...). A year ago, we managed to loan in Källström (blast it, that's one New Year's Resolution gone by the wayside, and the year before that, we fast-tracked the signing of Nacho Monreal after Gibbs went down. Thus was spawned this blog, two years ago almost to the day, in frustration at the tight-fistedness and apparent short-sightedness of our transfer-dealings. In those days, it seemed as if we would only see signings in some kind of last-ditch response to injury or departure, whether it was Gibbs or Fabregas or van Persie. This time through, though, we have a few signings...and, for those who like parody, someone who's "like a new signing."

30 January 2015

Withdraw a Chilean, add a Brazilian, and win?

As we go into our clash on Sunday against Aston Villa, news is that Alexis has picked up a "hamstring concern"—Arsène's words, not mine—and may be rested. More news will come out on his status—Alexis's, not Arsène's—perhaps on Saturday. Whether he's injured or this is more of an opportunity to rest the cheeky Chilean, we'll have to hoep that others can pick up the slack his absence may leave. After all, his 18 goals and 10 assists to date represent and enormous portion of the team total. Scoring against Villa may be tougher than their league-position suggests; despite sitting 15th, just points above the drop-zone, the Villans have conceded just 25 goals, the same that we have.

28 January 2015

Gabriel Paulista sings, "I wanna be your Martin Keown..."

...or so sing Sleater-Kinney might sing. It's actually "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone", but in the signing of Gabriel Paulista, we might have something of a chant ready-made for the Brazilian defender. With his transfer from Villareal to Arsenal officially announced on Wednesday, we have a #5 who, in time, could remind us in his own way of other famous defenders to wear the number, namely, Martin Keown, to whom Gabriel offers more than a passing resemblance. His addition bolsters a sorely-lacking position and one that urgently needs updating. With Mertesacker sinking slowly (by what other means would he sink?) and Koscielny aging, we need to find centre-backs who can learn and in short order take over from them. In Gabriel, we may have found the heir-apparent to Koscielny, and, before him, to Keown.

Too soon? Aye, perhaps a bit too soon....
We've had a fair-few centre-backs come through the club since Keown's day, but none perhaps as memorable as he was: Campbell. Touré. Cygan. Senderos. Djourou. Vermaelen. Gallas. Would any among them, save perhaps Campbell, merit a mention in the annals of Arsenal's history? It's unlikely.

I hope I'm not making too much of Gabriel. He looks like he could become a very, very good time. As it currently stands, he offers something closer to raw potential than finished product, given that he's made only 37 appearances for Villareal in La Liga and zero appearances for Brazil at the international level. As such, it's hard to assess just how ready the 24-year old is to contribute. Perhaps the comparisons to Keown—be it based on squad number, position, or physical appearance—is a bit unfair.

A more-apt comparison might be made to Laurent Koscielny, another centre-back who joined the club at age 24. There have been hiccups, to be sure, but Kos has emerged as one of the lynchpins of the Arsenal defense. At age 29, he still wreaks havoc and runs amok, blending aggressive tackles and interceptions with increasingly-astute positioning. Kos might have another five years of top-flight performance still in him, but it's far from too early to start grooming a successor. Should Gabriel prove ready to deputize for him, so much the better.

Like Kos, Gabriel is a quick, aggressive defender who excels at dispossessing opponents and who, at the moment, relies more on that quickness than on wisdom to achieve his goals (or deny the goals of others). A great deal of Kos's game is based on his quick reactions and willingness to go in for a tackle, knowing that Per is there to mop up. So may it be for Gabriel and Chambers, who in coming years could gradually assume the burden that the Kos-Per pairing has shouldered. Chambers could play Per to Gabriel's Kos, playing the more-conservative role in support of Gabriel's marauding forays in the middle of the pitch.

Long story short, Gabriel might not be quite ready to slot in for Kos, but he brings a skill-set and mentality that suggests that, once Kos starts to straggle, he'll be chomping at the bit to shoulder the load. Heck, he may even be ready for a run-out on Sunday against Aston Villa—if the game is in hand.

26 January 2015

Gabriel Paulista received work-permit approval from Home Office, deal done today?

In a move that all but clears the way for Gabriel Paulista to join Arsenal, the club have received formal approval for his work-permit, and he is undergoing a medical at London Colney. It looks as if a transfer free of £11.3m has been agreed with Villareal, and we'll be spared the long, drawn-out sagas we experienced with players like Vela and Campbell, who ran up against tougher resistance to acquiring those work-permits in the past. The FA's Home Office was willing to set aside the "player of highest calibre" requirement that stipulates a player appear in 75% or more of his home country's competitive matches. The centre-back could be available to play as early as Sunday against Aston Villa., with Arsène stating that the deal could be done before today's FA Cup draw.

21 January 2015

Getting Gabriel: £10m and he's ours, work-permit or not...

As we draw nearer and nearer to the potential signing of Villareal's Gabriel Paulista, nagging questions undermine the optimism we're supposed to feel. After all, we've been burned before: Vela. Campbell. Gilberto. Heck, toss in Källström, and it's easy to see how Gooners might look this potential gift-horse in the mouth. After all, Gabriel has fallen far-short of the FA work-permit requirement that stipulates that a player has to have played 75% or more of his country's matches in the last two years—a quick check of the maths reveals that Gabriel has played in 0% of Brazil's matches, just a hair less than required. This raises the prospect of an unsavory appeal. Then again, money talks, and we do have a bit to spend if we're willing to put our money where our mouths are.

20 January 2015

"Welcome" to Arsenal, Gabriel Paulista?

Apparently, a deal is done that would bring Brazlian centre-back Gabriel Paulista from Villareal to Arsenal with an initial free of around £6m and rising to above £10m, while Villareal holod out for an offer that would meet a release-clause of some £15.25m. Spains's Cadena Ser reported the news earlier on Tuesday, but, of course, nothing more official has emerged. For what it's worth, Cadena Ser is Spain's oldest and largest (by audience-share) radio network, and its reputation for reliability seems to fall somewhere between The Sun and The Independent. The story does pass various versions of the smell-test. Relatively unknown player to whom we've not been linked? Check. Technical skills and versatility? Check. Dithering and dickering over transfer-fees? Check. And mate.