Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny says teammate Gabriel is ready to face Chelsea

Emirates Stadium 3

One of Arsenal's key players has been looking ahead to the huge clash with league leaders Chelsea.

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has been speaking to the club’s official website about the prospect of Gabriel Paulista playing against Chelsea later today.

The Brazilian centre-back signed for the Gunners from Spanish side Villarreal back in January, and he has only featured seven times for Arsene Wenger’s side to date.

But he has shown enough in that time to suggest he will ultimately become a vital part of Arsenal’s back-line; and with Per Mertesacker out injured, the 24-year-old looks set to feature against Chelsea.

Speaking ahead of that clash, his defensive partner Koscielny said, “Gabriel only arrived in January but he has done well in the games he has played.

“He’s strong, he’s quick, his mentality means he is ready to fight against Chelsea, so I don’t have any problems with starting alongside him.”

Arsenal are currently third in the table, a full 10 points behind Jose Mourinho’s side, but the Gunners know they can still shake things up in the run-in, even if few would think anyone but Chelsea will ultimately lift the crown.

A good performance and a win for Arsenal this weekend will make an emphatic statement ahead of the new campaign, and it could also prove Gabriel is ready to start week in, week out at the expense of Mertesacker.

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