It wasn’t a successful result for Mikel Arteta yesterday when he went up against his former employers Manchester City and former associate Pep Guardiola, but the result could’ve read a lot worse for Arsenal on the night: as it often is when playing a side of their opponent’s calibre.
Arsenal defenders put up a good performance as they went down fighting to overturn a respectable one goal deficit, and their commitment and desire on display will be amongst the positives that the manager will be taking from the 1-0 defeat.
The Gunners faithful have singled out one star performer from yesterday’s defeat – new signing Gabriel Magalhaes.
The Brazilian centre-back did an outstanding job to contain City’s plethora of attacking prowess, and exemplified Arsenal’s hunger on the night.
He was successful in keeping one of the best strikers in Premier League history in Sergio Agüero very quiet, and a particular moment from the match has been much included in post-match discussion by the Arsenal fans.
When Agüero was sent through in the box to provide for his teammates with a cross, he had his marker Gabriel on his toes. Despite the Argentine forward flooring the Brazilian centre back with his quick feet, the 22-year-old showed immense character and body control to stay in contention to block the delivery: as he did not let Agüero find a teammate from a favourable crossing position, even when fumbling on his knees after losing his footing.
Arsenal fans applauded his commitment to not let Agüero get the chance to create a scoring opportunity, despite not having the best of head starts going up against the forward.
Very small thing but I loved this from Gabriel yesterday, incredible body control pic.twitter.com/ECix4ifM3O— Marc Penrose (@RastafariMoore4) October 18, 2020
Looking back in hindsight, the moment took place in the match as early as in the 11th minute: the headlines could’ve read very different indeed if Agüero did find a teammate in front of goal.
Though Raheem Sterling eventually scored the goal that would turn out to be the match winner, Arsenal can be proud of their performance against a very free-scoring City team when on their game: having kept Guardiola’s side quiet in spells of the game, even taking the game to them at times.
It might just be the breakout performance that new signing Gabriel Magalhaes needed to truly start cementing his own legacy at the Emirates Stadium: and be the consistently dominant centre back that his club needed for years.