Over the weekend, the Brazilian helped the Gunners pick up a crucial three points in the Premier League as they beat Leicester City 1-0 away from home.
It was a good day for Mikel Arteta’s defence as they limited the Foxes to just one shot in the entire game (which was off-target) – for a total of 0.01 xG.
Gabriel has started every league game so the club this season as they push for the title but it seems as though he’s also doing a lot behind the scenes day-to-day to truly establish himself as a key leader in north London.
Indeed, when speaking about it all on his YouTube channel this Monday, Watts noted that these developments could see the centre-back one day handed the captain’s armband.
He said (12:17): “You speak to people, you speak to Mikel Arteta. Whenever you talk about Gabriel and he talks about not just what he’s doing on the pitch on a weekly basis but what he’s doing behind the scenes and how he’s come on, how much of a leader he is becoming London Colney.
“How he’s really sort of mastered the English language, worked really hard to do that. And that’s helped him become this really leader-type figure at Arsenal.
“He’s still so young as well, still so much to come from Gabriel, and I just think he’s been he’s been a wonderful signing no doubt about that. He’s just getting better and better.
He looks so perfectly adapted to playing in the Premier League now. And he’s got those leadership skills as well. You know, I wouldn’t put it past Gabriel at some point down the line, really seeing him wear the armband plenty of times.”
What does Gabriel’s form mean for the Gunners?
Up to this point in the league, only goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has played more minutes than Gabriel who averages a 6.85 rating per game (via WhoScored).
This is better than his centre-back partner William Saliba (6.73) as well as other key defenders such as Ben White (6.78) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (6.34) and Kieran Tierney (6.24).
However, as explained by Watts, it’s not just what he does on the pitch which makes him so important to the club. It’s certainly great to hear that Gabriel has worked hard to improve his English speaking skills.
Last season, for instance, teammate White explained how they managed to “click” despite a language barrier but now that shouldn’t be a problem – which may explain in part why Arsenal’s form has gone up a level this season.
Having only turned 25 in December, the Brazilian certainly has a big future and perhaps the current star will one day be trusted with the captain’s armband.