QPR 1 Arsenal 2 - defensive analysis: Arsene Wenger will be encouraged by Per Mertesacker's response to dropping

Wenger started with Gabriel and Mertesacker- but it didn't end that way

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The Independent Football

Another important win for Arsenal but Arsene Wenger still has some defensive worries after losing Gabriel Paulista to injury as his side beat Queens Park Rangers.

Gabriel had impressed alongside Laurent Koscielny against Everton on Sunday but he was forced off in the first half at Loftus Road.

The January signing from Villarreal pulled up with no one around him after 37 minutes and looks set for a spell on the sidelines.

Gabriel appeared ready to break the centre-back partnership between Koscielny and Per Mertesacker but Wenger may have to rely on his old pairing for what could be a defining period in Arsenal’s season.


Koscielny and Mertesacker, so poor as Arsenal imploded against Monaco in the Champions League last week, did OK against the dangerous QPR pair of Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin until the latter thumped home a late consolation.


Wenger will be encouraged by Mertesacker’s response after being left on the bench against Everton.

Some have suggested his days in the side may be numbered following Gabriel’s arrival but the German marshalled the backline well as Arsenal won 2-1 to stay third in the Premier League and keep ahead of their rivals in the race for a top-four finish.