Why Was Gabriel Benched In Gameweek 10 vs Sheffield United?

Team Selection

October 30, 2023

Why Was Gabriel Benched In Gameweek 10 vs Sheffield United?

Arsenal’s clash with Sheffield United on Saturday saw a surprising twist in the tale, as the once-untouchable duo of Martin Odegaard (£8.5m) and Gabriel Magalhaes (£4.8m) found themselves relegated to the bench. The Gunners went on to secure a resounding victory, leaving fans with mixed emotions and questions about the team’s future.

Odegaard’s underwhelming performances had been a topic of discussion among fans and pundits alike. Manager Mikel Arteta, however, explained that Odegaard’s absence from the starting lineup was due to a fitness issue rather than poor form. The Norwegian playmaker had struggled to regain his top form in recent matches.

For Gabriel Magalhaes, being benched was a bitter pill to swallow for both the player and his fantasy football owners. Gabriel had been a consistent performer for Arsenal, but two factors made his exclusion particularly surprising. First, he had been playing exceptionally well in recent matches. Second, his seemingly direct replacement for the position, Thomas Partey (£4.8m), who had temporarily been deployed as a right-back at the beginning of the season, was sidelined due to injury.

Arteta’s comments on Odegaard’s situation might provide some insight into why Gabriel found himself replaced by Jakub Kiwior (£4.3m) in the starting lineup against Sheffield United. In the three weeks leading up to the match, Gabriel and Odegaard had accumulated more minutes on the pitch for both club and country than any other players. The statistics painted a clear picture of their importance to the team:

  • Gabriel: 450 minutes
  • Odegaard: 406 minutes
  • Rice: 360 minutes
  • Jesus: 357 minutes
  • Zinchenko: 291 minutes
  • Tomiyasu: 290 minutes

Gabriel had been an ever-present figure for Arsenal and Brazil, having started 14 consecutive games without a break since early September. It was evident that his incredible workload was taking its toll.

The decision to rest Gabriel might have been a strategic move to preserve energy for tougher challenges ahead. Arsenal’s lineup for the upcoming trip to Newcastle would likely reveal whether this was a one-off occurrence or a change in the pecking order.

However, even if Gabriel does return to the starting XI, there is the looming concern of his international commitments during the upcoming break. This means that he might require another period of rest in the medium term, complicating Arsenal’s defensive options.

Arsenal’s managerial decisions regarding Odegaard and Gabriel are not only crucial for the team’s performance but also for fantasy football managers who have invested in these players. The situation remains fluid, and the next few weeks will provide more clarity on how Arteta plans to manage his squad amidst challenging fixtures and international duties.

In the ever-evolving landscape of football, the dilemma of balancing player fitness, performance, and tactical considerations remains a puzzle for managers like Arteta. As Arsenal’s season unfolds, we can only watch and wait to see how the Odegaard and Gabriel conundrum is resolved.



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