Mikel Arteta defends Gabriel after Arsenal’s FA Cup defeat to Southampton

Gabriel Magalhaes struggled in Arsenal's defeat to Southampton
Gabriel Magalhaes struggled in Arsenal’s defeat to Southampton (Getty)

Mikel Arteta has defended Gabriel Magalhaes after the Brazilian’s own goal dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Gunners slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Southampton at St Mary’s and last year’s FA Cup winners are now out at the fourth-round stage.

Gabriel was starting his first game since December 22 as he has been sidelined with Covid-19 and the 23-year-old was far from his best against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

But Arteta has praised the Brazilian’s impact since he joined Arsenal last summer and suggested the centre-back may need a few games to get up to speed.

Asked if Gabriel showed signs of rustiness during the defeat, Arteta replied: ‘Maybe, he hasn’t played enough minutes in the last month or so.

‘Since he had Covid he had to stay at home, he hasn’t trained as much as we would like to.

Southampton v Arsenal: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Gabriel’s own goal sealed Southampton’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal (Getty)

‘But he’s a player who has done so well since he has joined us.

‘And credit to Southampton because they make it really hard for you. It’s difficult to play against the type of strikers they have.

‘They give you a real game and you have to give credit to that.’

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed Arsenal's defeat to Southampton due to personal reasons
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed Arsenal’s defeat to Southampton due to personal reasons (Getty)

Meanwhile, Arteta is unsure when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return after he missed the match against Southampton due to ‘personal reasons’.

‘I don’t know. He needs to address that issue, we’ll see how it evolves,’ said Arteta.

‘We’re here and we have to support him and he needs to take the time that is needed because that is a priority at the moment.’

Arsenal face Southampton once again at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Tuesday evening.

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