The central defensive pairing of White and Gabriel has conceded just one goal in three Premier League games – promising considering the previous three fixtures saw Arsenal ship nine
A rampant first half display saw Mikel Arteta’s side put three past Spurs in the opening 35 minutes ensuring it was the first time that the Gunners went into the interval with a 3-0 lead over their neighbours since records began.
Given the nature of the victory, the post-match discourse has been centred around Arsenal’s attacking display, forward-thinking midfielders Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka bagging a goal each either side of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal – a delightful counter attack capped off with a finish on the club captain’s weaker foot.
However, special mention must go to those at the back of the pitch donning red and white – particularly when Son Heung-Min notched a late consolation goal for the visitors, which inevitably sparked a lingering sense of anxiety from the home faithful.
While right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu has earned plenty of plaudits for his efforts and rightly so – the performances of Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes as a central defensive pairing will make the Arsenal faithful sleep a little easier at night after years of makeshift and under-performing defensive set-ups.
If White’s £50m fee generated plenty of headlines, not enough has been said about the £23m paid for Gabriel – an absolute steal for a 23-year-old defender who seems to relish the physical battle posed by some of the league’s leading strikers – such as Harry Kane.
The Brazilian kept the Spurs talisman at bay all afternoon, remaining touch tight on the England skipper who continued his dismal start to the season as he failed to find the net for the fifth league game in a row.
Gabriel’s physicality operates in perfect tandem with White’s precision passing and technical prowess, the former Brighton & Hove Albion star boasting a stellar 95% pass accuracy – misplacing just two in the impressive defensive display.
Famed for his accurate long passing, White attempted six long balls in the North London Derby – the most he has attempted in an Arsenal shirt thus far.
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Together, the pair provided shot-stopper Aaron Ramsdale with sufficient protection despite a brief slip up late on to allow Son’s goal.
Both players have age on their side, White and Gabriel could be the bedrock of Arsenal’s future success if better days are indeed ahead, as the derby day victory suggests.