Arsenal have confirmed that Gabriel was missing from their game against Leicester City with a slight hamstring problem. The Brazilian was not in the squad, allowing Per Mertesacker to be drafted back into the XI, who made his first appearance in an Arsenal shift after serving a suspension for being sent off against Chelsea.
Gabriel's absence, coupled with Koscielny being subbed off at half time with a dead leg, has left the Gunners extremely short at the back in terms of numbers, with Chambers and Mertesacker being the only two recognised centre-back pairing at the club. The Gunners will be hoping that either of them will be fit for their crucial Champions League game against Barcelona next week. Otherwise, it will prove extremely damaging to their hopes of progressing in Europe. The Arsenal Twitter handle announced the injury before the team sheet was announced.
Mertesacker did well coming in to replace Gabriel, dropping deep to deny Jamie Vardy any space to run in behind. His towering presence in the box was also a big help to shut out crosses into the box, especially with the likes of Robert Huth on the prowl. The German missed a big opportunity in the dying minutes of the game to get the Gunners ahead as he tried to caress a Mesut Ozil cross into the back of the net but made too little contact as the ball rolled wide and out of play.
However, the miss did not prove costly as Danny Welbeck, back in action after missing over nine months through injury, scored a last minute winner to take the Gunners within two points of leaders Leicester. Ozil's set-piece was glanced into the bottom corner by the former Manchester United man as the Gunners went into the second spot for the time being,
Earlier, Leicester had taken the lead through a controversial decision by referee Martin Atkinson after he pointed to the spot despite replays showing that Vardy had intentionally barged into Nacho Monreal, whose initial tackle did not make any contact with the attacker. Danny Simpson was shown a red card after picking up his second yellow as the Gunners turned on the heat against 10 men, with Theo Walcott coming from the bench to score the equaliser in the 70th minute.