The sight of Gabriel Magalhaes walking off the pitch after receiving his marching orders must have looked very familiar to Arsenal fans who were watching the Gunners’ game against Southampton on Wednesday.
The Brazilian defender recklessly got himself booked twice in the space of four minutes, reducing Arsenal to 10 men for the remaining 28 minutes of the game.
On another day, there could have been lots of positives from the 1-1 draw against Southampton. Bukayo Saka was a lively presence on the left wing, while Eddie Nketiah and the other youngsters showed they are ready to take on more prominent roles in the first team.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, badly starved off goals in the Premier League, also finally ended his goal drought after cancelling Theo Walcott’s opening strike for the Saints.
Gabriel red card costs Arsenal against Southampton
The aforementioned are all positives from the game which were overshadowed by Gabriel’s red card. The 22-year-old has been a revelation at the back for Arsenal and is one of the most consistent players in Mikel Arteta’s set-up, but his mistake was unpardonable.
Gabriel’s first yellow card was completely avoidable as he was punished for sticking his leg out to deny Southampton from taking a quick free-kick. His second booking was more ridiculous.
Having been turned over by Walcott, the centre-back opted to pull his marker down despite knowing he was already on a booking. The consequence? He was sent off for a second yellow card.
This is the third time in five games that Arsenal have been reduced to 10 men, and the indiscipline of the team is beginning to define Arteta’s reign at the Emirates.
For a side that hasn’t won a league game since November 1, this was the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways. Aubameyang’s equaliser could have sparked a comeback, but all hope was immediately lost following Gabriel’s red card.
Arsenal's lack of discipline beginning to define Mikel Arteta era
For the seventh time since Mikel Arteta took charge, he has watched Arsenal reduced to 10 men. Last week, the Spaniard emphasised the need to keep cool heads following Granit Xhaka’s reckless red card against Burnley and Nicolas Pepe’s sending-off against Leeds United the week before.
It was reasonable for him to be upset when it happened again against Southampton. During his post-match press conference, Arteta revealed his disappointment after yet another game-changing red card. He said:
“We didn't have time to think, we adjusted two or three things to try and win the game. The boys came out like we did three days ago, we scored a really good goal, on top in the game, and again we shoot ourselves in the foot.
"Very [disappointed] because in that moment I was thinking to change the center-back straight away - we didn't even have time to do that. In the end we got a point that, considering the circumstances, we have to accept."
Pepe’s red card against Leeds United caused Arsenal to drop points, while Xhaka was the villain against Burnley last week. Gabriel’s latest red card makes it worse for the Gunners, who have now failed to win in their last six league games.
Unless the Gunners sort out their lack of discipline on the pitch, they are bound to drop more points in the coming weeks.Published 17 Dec 2020, 14:56 IST