Ian Wright questions why Arsene Wenger didn’t start Arsenal star

Ian Wright says he would have started Gabriel Paulista for Arsenal's 1-0 loss to Chelsea

Ian Wright has questioned why Arsene Wenger didn’t start Gabriel Paulista for Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea.

The Brazil international replaced Olivier Giroud in the 19th minute of Sunday’s clash after Per Mertesacker was sent off for hauling down Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

The pace of Mertesacker has always been a problem

Ian Wright

Minutes later, the controversial Spain international scored the winner in the London derby at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal suffered their first Premier League defeat since Boxing Day.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Wright felt Gabriel would have been a perfect choice to foil Costa given the defender’s past history with the Chelsea man.

“I thought that with the sending off in the last game and the way Gabriel and Costa finished off, I thought it would have been a good battle,” Wright said.

“It would have been a chance for Gabriel to get some redemption. You’d like to think Gabriel was chasing down Costa, you’d think that he would have got their quicker.

“The pace of Mertesacker has always been a problem.”

Gabriel was sent off in Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier this year after he clashed with Costa.

The 25-year-old centre-half has started seven of Arsenal’s 24 Premier League games so far this season following his move to the FA Cup holders from La Liga side Villarreal in 2015.

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Arsenal are three points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City ahead of their next game against Southampton on Tuesday 2 February.

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