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Gabriel Magalhães: The Best Centre Back In The League?

Arsenal player and Brazilian International Gabriel Magalhaes has always gone under the radar when it comes to talented young centre backs in the premier league but this season the 26 year old is stamping his authority in Arsenal's back line and in world football as one of the best. The Brazilian joined Arsenal in 2020, after Mikel Arteta's reds hijacked him before he signed from Lille to Everton and he is arguably one of Mikel Arteta's most reliable signings. Since coming to England, the centre back has registered 14 goals for Arsenal and this season alone has scored 4 goals and counting. The Brazilian has had some incredible performances, most notably him and his centre back partner William Saliba doing an excellent job at nullifying the Premier Leagues most deadly striker in Erling Haaland. In the three times that Arsenal has played Manchester City this season, the Citizens have only scored on one occasion, losing two and drawing once. Meanwhile Gabriel & Saliba have reduced Erling Haaland to zero shots on target and an XG of 0.00

This is word to how magnificent Gabriel has been this season. He is the opposite to his calm and collected partner William Saliba, instead Magalhaes is ruthless and aggressive which is seen in his boisterous style of play that Mikel Arteta loves. Arsenal sit first in the league after drawing 0-0 to Manchester City but then beating Luton 2-0 at the Emirates, with Liverpool playing a day later. Yet the Gunners have scored the most goals in the league and conceded the least amount. Not only is Gabriel contributing to scoring goals but he is also preventing them as a defender. In 2024, Arsenal have not lost a single game, only dropping two points when they visited the Etihad last sunday and they have impressed by scoring 36 goals and conceding only four in this time. Not only are they potent in attack but controlled in defense, which is seen in their thirteen clean sheets, the most of any premier league side.

Yet what makes Gabriel the best centre back in the league this season? Other Centre backs such as Virgil Van Dijk are aggressive and fierce when defending but also potent in attack yet Gabriel has stood out amongst the rest of his peers. What sets Gabriel apart from his counter parts is his adaptive nature. At times the left sided centre back has had to play next to a range of differing left fullbacks and is forced to cover a wider defensive area whilst Arteta's chosen fullback inverts into midfield. This has forced Gabriel to become more dynamic, scanning and protecting his space more diligently. The centre back has been dribbled past just three times but his recoveries and clearances are far more superior. Many Arsenal fans have named their centre back duo as 'The Great Wall Of North London' and it is futile to underestimate Gabriel Magalhaes contribution to this great barrier that all in the league fear. In fact, in the three games Gabriel missed this season, Arsenal conceded in two of them and had a man sent off in their third.

Gabriel has undeniably been the best defender for Arsenal this season and statistically is one of the best in the world based on current form. The Brazilian is hoping to clinch his first Premier League with Arsenal and based on the current form he is leading Arsenal on, it is possible that he will be in the team of the year and lifting the Premier League trophy come May.

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