Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has told the club’s official website that he is looking to rotate his squad over the coming week, hinting that January signing Gabriel Paulista could be set for his Premier League debut against Everton.
The Brazilian centre-back moved to the Emirates during the January transfer window, joining from La Liga side Villarreal on a four-and-a-half-year deal.
So far, though, he has been restricted to just one FA Cup start with talk that his lack of English could cause a few problems in the short-term and his inclusion would be deemed a slight risk.
However, with a busy schedule coming up and the Gunners’ defeat to Monaco still lingering in the air, Wenger concedes that changes will be made when quizzed on Gabriel’s likely involvement.
“I have not made any decision yet for Sunday’s game. We will have to rotate a little bit, because we play Sunday and Wednesday. There will certainly be some changes,” the Frenchman added.
Should Gabriel Paulista start against Everton on Sunday?
In the wake of some unconvincing defending during the North Londoners’ Champions League defeat in midweek, freshening things up at the heart of the defence would represent a logical decision.
Per Mertesacker has been part of Wenger’s plans for much of the season, but the German international didn’t cover himself in glory on Wednesday and could be sacrificed.
Gabriel needs matches, he needs to integrate himself in the first-team and his pace and awareness could subsequently prove handy against Toffees striker Romelu Lukaku.
It is a match which represents a good time for Wenger to hand him his Premier League debut, whereas the following match against a direct QPR side on a small Loftus Road pitch is in contrast ideal for Mertesacker.