Martin Keown hailed Gabriel Magalhaes’ debut goal and performance in Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Fulham in their Premier League opener on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta handed his new centre-half a Premier League debut after the Gunners signed the Brazilian in a £25m deal from Lille this summer.
Alexandre Lacazette got the nod ahead of Eddie Nketiah for the Premier League opener and the France forward rewarded his manager’s faith with a goal in the ninth minute.
The France international reacted quickest to the loose ball after Willian’s shot was saved to score the first goal of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang extended the north London side’s lead to three goals in the 57th minute with a world-class finish.
BT Sport pundit Martin Keown named Gabriel as his man of the match after the summer signing’s composed performance at the back.
“I’m going to go for a player in an area where Arsenal needed serious attention in. It’s Gabriel. He’s got a clean sheet and scored on his debut.
“He has come in and he’s been dominant. He wasn’t asked too many questions but he’s my man of the match. I’m really happy with a player of that quality going into the Arsenal defence.”
On Gabriel’s goal, Keown said during his BT Sport commentary:
“How strong is he? He gets up and rises above Hector. He just nods it down. He wanted it more than anyone else. It might have touched his shoulder rather than his head. It doesn’t matter. They all count.”
Gabriel spent the last four seasons at Lille where he established himself as a regular in the Ligue 1 side’s defence.
The South American centre-half has previously enjoyed stints at Avai, Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb in his fledgling career so far.
Arteta’s side made a strong start to their bid to finish in the top four the first time since Arsene Wenger’s exit thanks to their 3-0 win over Fulham.
Arsenal will face another London side in the shape of West Ham United next weekend before the Gunners take on defending Premier League champions Liverpool FC on Monday 28 September.
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