Danny Murphy has claimed that Gabriel Magalhaes is a better option at centre-half than Pablo Mari after the Spaniard’s performance versus West Ham United last week.
The former Manchester City man endured a horrid time against the Hammers after proving to be at fault for two of the side’s three goals.
Speaking on talkSPORT, the pundit gave his support for the Brazilian as he blamed Mikel Arteta for his team selection and praise the centre-back for his display against Harry Kane during the north London derby victory.
Murphy said: “He [Arteta] has to take some responsibility. Gabriel did as good a job on Kane as I’ve seen any centre-half do and he puts Mari back in. He’s not as good. I’m sorry, he’s not as good.”
Who is the better defender?
Whilst, I do strongly believe Murphy is right in that Gabriel is a better defender than Mari, it proves incredibly harsh to lay into the Spaniard after Sunday’s performance.
Across his limited action this season, the 27-year-old has proven to be a more than capable option for Arteta when he wants to rotate his side after a big game. As a matter of fact, across his 12 appearances this season, the defender has lost just one game, and that was the 1-0 loss at home to the Citizens a few weeks back.
However, it’s the first part of the former Liverpool man’s quote which is the more worrying aspect this season. Across quite a few league games, most people have been scratching their heads with regards to Arteta’s lineup selection this season.
Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka are prime examples of the weirdness that is the Spaniard’s line-up selections. Despite the Ivorian’s great form in recent weeks, he can’t seem to get a game with Arteta choosing to burn out the young Englishman instead.
It led to the 19-year-old picking up a hamstring injury in the north London derby versus Tottenham Hotspur and how did the 37-year-old react? Well, he immediately started Saka in the next Premier League game against David Moyes’ side of course.
Gabriel Magalhaes is a defender who Arsenal have gleefully stumbled across in a transfer that has suited the Gunners down to the ground. But, it’s no use bashing Mari, who has shown he’s a more than good enough deputy across his outing this season.
The more important worry, in a season that still has a few matches to run its course is Arteta’s rotation. Some of his line-ups leave more questions than answers and with so much at stake, you feel it could prove more harmful in weeks to come.