Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista got his first Premier League start this weekend and he did not disappoint.
The January signing from Villarreal took some time to play his way into the game but once he had he looked solid alongside Laurent Koscielny, to such an extent that questions must now be asked regarding just how many more games Per Mertesacker will start this season.
Gabriel played 50 matches for the La Liga club but the English top flight is a very different prospect and it was always going to be interesting to see how quickly he settled.
Against a combative Everton side he looked very good, as his passing accuracy of 87 per cent and his impressive defensive contributions testified.
|Passing Accuracy||Tackles Won||Duels Won||Aerials Won||Interception Won||Effective Clearances||Effective Headed Clearances||Mins Played|
Gabriel only won one tackle but he was successful with four ground duels and two aerial battles. He also won six interceptions and made a very impressive 15 effective clearances (10 with his feet and five with his head).
Arsenal's need for another quality centre-back was laid bare earlier in the campaign, when injuries and suspensions decimated their back-line, but it seems that in Gabriel they have a very effective option.
After the match, we took to Twitter to see what Arsenal fans thought of Gabriel's performance and you can read a selection of what we found below:
Gabriel started badly but quickly got good. Solid performance.— Gunner Galáctico (@GunnerGalactico) March 1, 2015
Didn't Gabriel look good once he got into the rhythm of the game too? Great tackling, very rough, good pace. He'll thrive in the Prem.— James (@ArtisticArsenal) March 1, 2015
Gabriel was excellent today. Needs a run now. Good win. Did not play great but a win is a win— Richard (@robinhoodbaas) March 1, 2015
Koscielny & Gabriel looks like a really good partnership. They both read the game well & have the pace to keep up with the attackers! #COYG— Isaac Gallows (@23__Football) March 1, 2015
Hopefully a confidence boosting victory today. Gabriel looks a bit raw, but some impressive tackles #afc— Alex Marjoribanks (@Swampy_27) March 1, 2015
Gabriel playing with £28million in his back pocket was pretty impressive. Must have some special next-gen pockets, right?— tanvir (@tnvrr) March 1, 2015
Gabriel had a brilliant game today and should replace Mertesacker permanently..— Jack The Gooner (@PetrolHeadJack) March 1, 2015
You have to expect that Gabriel will need some time to adapt but looks very very promising.— ILoveDESSI (@Mertusch) March 1, 2015