Martin Keown: Why Gabriel Paulista can become Arsenal’s first-choice defender

Martin Keown runs the rule over Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista

The Sport Review staff

Martin Keown believes Gabriel Paulista has the ingredients to become Arsenal’s first-choice defender.

The Brazil international started ahead of Per Mertesacker for Arsenal’s 2-0 Premier League victory over Bournemouth at Dean’s Court on Sunday.

I do believe he has the ingredients with his pace to be a number one choice for Arsenal

Martin Keown

Gabriel has been vying for a starting spot with Mertesacker throughout the 2015/16 season after the South American moved to The Emirates in 2015.

Former Arsenal defender Keown was impressed with Gabriel’s performance against Benik Afobe and tipped the defender to start Sunday’s clash against Leicester City.

“Gabriel coming in was significant. Maybe Arsene Wenger looking at the Barcelona and Leicester games next week, where there is a lot of pace up front with Jamie Vardy,” Keown told BBC Sport’s Match Of The Day 2.

“You wonder if he is now looking at Gabriel. He had a few shaky moments but I do believe he has the ingredients with his pace to be a number one choice for Arsenal.”

Gabriel has scored one goal in 11 Premier League games for the north London side so far this season.

The 25-year-old centre-half has also made three appearances in the Champions League and has started two FA Cup games for the Gunners.

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Arsenal are in third place in the Premier League table and five points behind current leaders Leicester ahead of their top-flight clash at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.

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