Arsenal and Burnley fans fight post game
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Arsenal have long been criticised for having a squad that lacks leaders, but what defender Gabriel did during Saturday’s win against Burnley could prove that Mikel Arteta is correct to claim he does have strong personalities among his ranks.
The Gunners were once renowned for having a team full of big personalities. The club’s last title-winning squad consisted of the likes of Jens Lehmann, Patrick Vieira, Martin Keown, Thierry Henry, Gilberto Silva and Sol Campbell.
But those types of characters have diminished at the North Londoners. Several fans, former players and pundits have scathed in their assessments of Arsenal’s squad.
Jamie Carragher said Arteta’s players were ‘weak’ when analysing the club’s defeat against newly-promoted Brentford on the opening day of the season.
Arsenal have endured a difficult start to the season and many of their senior players have been lamented for their displays.
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Successive 1-0 victories over Norwich City and Burnley have eased the pressure on Arsenal’s stars and boss Arteta, though. Martin Odegaard’s excellent free kick secured a win at Turf Moor.
However, it is what centre-back Gabriel did throughout the Premier League match that might have impressed Arteta just as much as Odegaard’s strike.
The Brazilian spent the whole game delivering instructions to his team-mates and even berated Nicolas Pepe late on.
Football.London have reported that the former Lille man was unhappy with Pepe not tracking back to help protect Arsenal’s lead.
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Gabriel’s actions might prove that Arteta finally has a strong leader in his squad. The 23-year-old partnered Ben White at centre-back and organised Arsenal’s defensive structure.
Arteta recently insisted that he does possess strong characters and pointed to the development of the club’s young players as evidence.
The Spaniard claims that the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe would not have settled into senior football so seamlessly without the impact of the senior individuals.
“I think the best way to do it is to ask the young players,” Arteta said at the end of August.
“They live that situation every day.
“And when you see the evolvement they have had in the last year or so it’s thanks to those players who are constantly helping them and giving them support, encouragement, telling them how good they are and how much they are helping the team.
“So probably that question is better for them.”
Arsenal’s win over Burnley lifted them out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season.
They now sit 13th on six points. Arteta will now prepare his side for next week’s North London derby against Tottenham.
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