The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-09-14

Total Football : 15 : 7

Total Football

7 The Daily Telegraph Monday 14 September 2020 *** Total Football Gabriel stands head and shoulders above the rest in powering up Arsenal Carbon-copy goal for Aubameyang at Craven Cottage By Sam Dean Muscular Brazilian adds a physical presence to defence Fulham unable to land any telling blows on meek return Three years ago, as the coaching staff of the Brazil Under-20 side were deciding on which young players to select, it was the sheer size of Gabriel Magalhaes that made him stand out. “An athlete with immense potential,” was the descriptio­n used by Rogerio Micale, the coach who first picked Gabriel to represent his country’s youth team. “Very tall, very strong, with good speed.” First impression­s do not count for much in football, especially when there is a full season still to play, but on Saturday it was easy to see why Micale was so impressed by Gabriel’s physique. As Arsenal emerged from the dressing room at Craven Cottage, Gabriel towered above his team-mates. Arsenal have had tall centreback­s before – and they have other tall defenders now – but Gabriel is not just tall. There is a thickness to his 6ft 3in frame, a muscular bulk that was genuinely striking when the 22-year-old first strode out. Gabriel’s physical power became even more apparent after the match started. Locked in an early tussle with Fulham’s Aboubakar Kamara, who is far from puny, Gabriel simply shrugged his opponent off the ball like a second-row forward ripping possession from a dainty scrum-half. In the air, Gabriel was totally dominant. Michael Hector, Fulham’s 6ft 4in centre-half who is dubbed “Virgil van Mike” by the club’s supporters, could not even get off the ground to challenge Gabriel as the Brazilian nodded home the second goal of Arsenal’s comfortabl­e 3-0 victory. On his Arsenal debut, Gabriel won more aerial duels than any other player. No player also made V Fulham, Sept 12 Aubameyang’s goal on Saturday (above) was swept home with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Kieran Tierney used as decoys after a fine move and Willian’s crossfield pass Run Run Pass Pass v Fulham, Sept 12th v Liverpool, Aug 29th 14 Aubameyang 14 Aubameyang Willian Direction of play Direction of play 12 7 Saka 9 V Liverpool, Aug 29 It was also an exact replica of his strike in the Community Shield (below), with the same decoys and also a very similar move, this time with Bukayo Saka playing the long pass ◆ Lacazette Elneny 25 34 34 Xhaka 6 Bellerin Elneny 2 2 34 25 Xhaka HoldingBel­lerin Leno Gabriel 16 1 26 26 6 1 16 Holding