Arsenal travelled to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a bid to close the gap on first-placed Chelsea, a gap which has extended to nine points after the Gunners dropped points against Everton mid-week.
Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger’s men, they conceded to consecutive defeats in the space of a week as their title hopes took a massive dent with the Gunners sitting in fourth place, nine points off top and looking very vulnerable.
Most Arsenal players carried on their abysmal form from Goodison Park but one player in particular was on the receiving end of some strong criticism, that being Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista, who was atrocious against Manchester City as he showed why Arsenal miss Mustafi so much.
Gabriel, who arrived at the North Londoners in 2015, has failed to cement himself a place in the starting lineup for nearly two years and today showed exactly why, he was abysmal in possession, for someone playing in a team managed by Arsene Wenger you would be very surprised by how Gabriel was playing, he was constantly going long for Alexis Sanchez, just for Arsenal to concede possession and be put under more pressure.
Gabriel lacked the technical ability to string a few passes on the surface, he was not able to pass through to our midfield to help build up play from the back and was extremely wasteful with the ball, he would either go sideways or over the midfield, and straight to City defenders, this cost Arsenal crucially today and the signs are really showing why Mustafi is so key to this team.
As a central defender you have to be much more aware and more disciplined than Gabriel was, he can often be quite rash in his defensive duties and can be caught out of position very often.
Gabriel made just two tackles this afternoon, one more than Olivier Giroud who was subbed on in the latter stages of the game, that just shows what kind of defensive performance Gabriel has against Manchester City.
The Brazilian always looks very uncomfortable with the ball too, he looks like he does not know what to do with it, or has a lack of confidence in himself, to which he results to just giving the ball away or play wayward passes, something which will anger Arsene Wenger.
For some humour, Gabriel nearly caused Hector Bellerin to score an own goal after the Brazilian hoofed the ball at Bellerin’s face and it took quick reactions from Petr Cech to save the shot, no it is not that funny really, is it? But if you don’t laugh you will cry. That moment of madness just shows what kind of performance Gabriel had today.
It is really frustrating to watch, this is twice in one week we have taken a look at Arsenal players to cost the Gunners a vital points and ground in the title race. Each and every player should want to win and end this disastrous drought of having no Premier League in so many years, but they don’t, and to be honest, it’s frustrating and a disgrace for the Arsenal faithful.
It is certainly a performance to forget for Gabriel, it was embarrassing. We look at how Twitter reacted to his performance, and as expected some fans are really not happy.
Somehow I prefer that Rob Holding to Gabriel Paulista.
— Naldo (@Folahan_MG) December 18, 2016
— Walter Butler (@wallyhoop79) December 18, 2016
I swear Gabriel paulista is the shittest defender I've seen in my life
His like the toilet seats inside fuel station toilets
— Marvinbantu (@Marvinbantu1) December 18, 2016
Another disaster at the back is @gpaulista5 …he's always have one or two mistakes in him
— Akinwande Soji-Ojo ® (@PrinzAkinwande) December 18, 2016
Agenda against Cech needed now.
Mans concedes too many goals.
Also we need to sell Gabriel Paulista. Not a defender.
— Rah (@neneroni) December 18, 2016
Someone should please tell Gabriel Paulista to calm down. He is pressing that panic button too early…. #Bbcfootball
— Shanu 'Shai' Afolami (@shaiontheprowl) December 18, 2016
Gabriel paulista is really poor to me.
— Dev. 👑 (@N0xID09) December 18, 2016
Mustafi plays – yet to lose. Mustafi gets injured. Gabriel plays – back to back defeats. Just sayin…
— David Palmer (@ArsenalDavey) December 18, 2016
Where did Arsenal dig that Gabriel from? 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭
— FONG KONG 凤岗 (@Demilade_OG) December 18, 2016
Gabriel is not Arsenal quality.
— JordinhoJordan (@JordinhoJordan2) December 18, 2016
How embarrassing is Gabriel? Never hated an Arsenal CB more. Mustafi FC needed.
— Olly (@Giroudesquee) December 18, 2016
As you can see, Arsenal fans were less than impressed with Gabriel’s performance and were quite ruthless on his overall display. Some people find strong criticism unfair and uncalled for, and sometimes it may be, but for Arsenal, they are desperate to end their title run, games like today will pay divalent on their title charge and it really does feel as if the Gunners will go another season without the grandest prize of them all.
Arsenal fans are calling for Rob Holding to start over Gabriel, and to be honest, I have to agree. The youngster has been immense whenever he plays in an Arsenal shirt and has bags of potential to fill and a lot more ability about himself.
The Gunners bottled two tough away days in the space of a week, they’re nine points off top, playing some woeful football and sitting here writing this I feel that’s another season down drain, and it’s only December.