Arsenal have had to make do without Laurent Koscielny for key matches this season with the Frenchman suffering injuries.
He missed the draw with Liverpool, and wins over Manchester United and Newcastle, all games in which Arsenal kept clean sheets.
Yet don't write the Frenchman off just yet, for when he returns to full fitness he is likely to return to Arsene Wenger's first choice XI.
Koscielny's reading of the game in unrivalled in the Arsenal defence, particularly judged up against his fellow centre-backs.
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Arsenal should be delighted at the partnership Gabriel and Mertesacker have forged temporarily in Koscielny's absence, but when fit the French international is a must pick for the Gunners.
The Mertesacker and Koscielny backline has been a feature of Arsenal's success for several seasons, forcing then captain Thomas Vermaelen out of the picture even before his injury problems.
Arsenal should be thankful they have quality back-up now in Gabriel, which they did not have this time last season, but Koscielny will not want to give up his place without a fight.