Arsenal's David Ospina hails 'supreme' Gabriel Paulista

David Ospina

The Colombian shot-stopper has lavished praise on his new teammate after his performance in his full Premier League debut against Everton.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina has praised Gabriel Paulista on the club’s official website, hailing his performance in the 2-0 win over Everton as “supreme”.

Gabriel, 24, arrived at Arsenal during the transfer window from Villarreal for around £11.3 million, having established himself as of the top centre-backs in La Liga during his one-and-half seasons with El Submarino Amarillo.

Manager Arsene Wenger caused some initial concern upon his signing after declaring that the Brazilian might struggle during his first few months at the Emirates Stadium due to his lack of English, but that doesn’t appear to have been an issue thus far.

After a solid debut in last month’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Middlesbrough, the defender was handed his full Premier League bow over Per Mertesacker for the weekend’s visit of Everton, and proceeded to put in an accomplished showing to help his side claim the clean sheet.

With Mertesacker’s performances coming in for increasing criticism in recent weeks, some fans have called for Gabriel to be instilled as a first-choice starter moving forward but, regardless of who makes the line-up, Ospina is delighted with the defensive depth the club now have at their disposal.

“He's a player who is very quick and very technical,” the keeper said. “It was a supreme game from him. He helps take us forward, Arsenal can count on some great defenders and he's one of them.”

Ospina, meanwhile, has his own competition to deal with, having been holding off Wojciech Szczesny for the first-choice job since the January 11 clash against Stoke.

The Colombia international has kept five clean sheets in the 11 matches since, conceding just five goals, and he believes the pressure from his Polish counterpart and third-choice Emiliano Martinez is what’s helped him maintain his level of form in 2015.

“Here you are fighting in every training session,” the summer signing said. “Arsenal have some great goalkeepers and that's what's important.

“The manager takes the decision, but everyone does their own job, the competition is healthy and I hope to continue making the most of the opportunity I've been given.

“At the level we're at, in a team like Arsenal you always have to keep performing to stay in the team and this helps you to work much harder and to improve every day.”

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