The Independent London Newspaper
22nd November 2017

Gabriel: Take time to reflect, not to party!

    Published: 22 December, 2016
    by STEVE BARNETT

    FORGET unwrapping expensive presents and munching on mince pies, Brazilian defender Gabriel is calling for his Arsenal team-mates to spend their Christmas “reflecting” on their recent run of form and focusing on their upcoming festive fixtures. 

    After suffering back-to-back away defeats against Everton and Manchester City Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitted that he was having a “horrible” week. His charges can now put that right at home and get their season back on track as they prepare to host West Brom on Boxing Day and Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day at the Emirates Stadium. 

    Gabriel, who will continue to deputise for the injured Shkodran Mustafi in the heart of Arsenal’s defence, is urging the squad to rally and “keep each other in check”. 

    “We had two away games to gain six points, and we ended up not achieving that,” he said. “We lost both games on reversals, losing them from a winning position, with basic mistakes. This cannot happen. 

    “I think each of us needs to reflect and try to keep each other in check. We must know how to demand from each other and how to respect each other. 

    “We were coming from a good string of games and met Everton feeling totally confident that we would win the match. We did start out winning, but ended up suffering. We conceded two goals, which is something that just can’t happen to a team as big as ours. And it wasn’t different against Manchester City on Sunday. Again we started out winning and ended up losing. 

    “I think now is a good time for the team to stop and think about the mistakes we’ve made in these two games to try and improve on that.” 

    Gabriel is gearing up for his second busy festive period since moving to north London from Villarreal in January 2015. The 26-year-old insists that he has already come to terms with the demands of English football. “When I moved to Europe, I already knew that England was the only country where you keep playing during the festive period,” he said. “When I played in Spain, I got a few days off to enjoy with my family. But not here. There’s no pause, it’s all about working. 

    “We players can’t think about partying, we only focus on our job. We are focused on what we have to do.” 

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