Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta explains why he dropped Gabriel Magalhaes against Liverpool

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has explained why he dropped summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes against Liverpool. Gabriel started Arsenal’s first two Premier League matches of the season against Fulham and West Ham. The Brazilian scored and kept a clean sheet on his debut at Craven Cottage.

But David Luiz was given the nod ahead of Gabriel for the Premier League clash at Anfield on Monday.

Luiz missed the match against Fulham with a neck injury and only came on as a late second-half substitute versus West Ham.

But Arteta said the former Chelsea man’s experience was the reason he awarded him his first league start of the campaign.

“[Gabriel] has done really well, he’s adapted really well,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

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“He’s played a few games already with us. David [Luiz] has huge experience and has played here many, many times as well and he gives us something different.”

Luiz slotted into a back three formation against Liverpool, with Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney either side of him and Gabriel named among the substitutes.

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Gabriel joined Arsenal from Lille at the beginning of September for an initial fee of £22million.

Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe was also named on the bench for a third successive Premier League match.

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Pepe played alongside Gabriel at Lille and Arteta hopes the pair can help each other adapt to English football.

Arteta said: “I think it’s always nice for them to have some compatriots next to them, it obviously makes things a lot easier in the first few months when they cannot speak the language.

“I think for both of them they know each other and they’ve spent some time together now. I think it’s a positive thing.”

Arteta believes Pepe has improved a lot since his first campaign in the Premier League last term.

“I think he’s come a long way,” he added.

“We know what the club paid for him when he joined and that was obviously an extra pressure but he’s a player who’s had to adapt, it’s a different style.

“He has a really good attitude. We can see he develops in a lot of phases of his game.

“He’s very settled here, he’s liked by the boys, he’s a really good character to have around and I’m really positive that we’re going to have him for many years and that he can perform at a really high level consistently.”

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