By Lloyd Webb

Laurent Koscielny says Gabriel will thrive on his north London derby debut due to his fighting spirit.

With the French centre back ruled out of Saturday’s game at Tottenham due to injury, Gabriel is expected to line up at the heart of the defence.

Having faced Spurs 11 times, Koscielny knows plenty about the rivalry and says his Brazilian team-mate has what it takes to succeed.

It is a good partnership for us and all the players that can play at centre back are focused on their job

Laurent Koscielny

“[Derbies suit] a defender that is a fighter because they are winners,” Koscielny told Arsenal Player. “Gabby wants to win all his duels and help his team win the game.

“It will be his first north London derby, but he will played have played a derby in Spain or Brazil so he knows what it is like and will give himself to win the game. It is more than a year that he has lived in England, and he knows his team-mates better now.

"We are happy with Gabriel, he has done a good job with his pace, determination and he wins his duels. It is very important to have a player like this in your squad. I think he has improved well. He is starting to speak English so this is good. He is more confident on the pitch and outside the pitch.

“Gabby can play higher up the pitch because he has pace and can recover at the back. Per is very good when the ball is in front of him and he can stop a counter attack and this is important.

“It is a good partnership for us and all the players that can play at centre back are focused on their job.”

Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny

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4 Mar 2016