Wenger: I’d prefer Gabriel to be better at English


Arsene Wenger admits that Gabriel’s lack of English isn’t ideal but has reiterated that the Brazilian is working hard to improve his language skills.

The centre-back signed from Villarreal 13 months ago and has since consolidated his credentials as a genuine option in the heart of Arsenal’s defence alongside Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

That said, his muddled performance in the defeat against Manchester United has again raised questions about his ability to understand and communicate with his teammates.

Questioned on the matter in his pre-Swansea press conference, Arsene Wenger agreed that in an ideal world his £11 million signing would be fluent by now.

“I would prefer him to have better English because in a fraction of a second somebody can help you.” 

The boss added: “He has Nacho Monreal outside him who can speak to him in Spanish. He is working very hard on his English and is improving every day.”
Earlier in the season Petr Cech revealed that he opts to speak in the native tongue of his defenders to aid their organisation.

“I speak to the full-backs in Spanish, to Koscielny in French and to Per in English because for him it is the same as me.

“He organises people in English. Sometimes foreign players wouldn’t know what you say. That’s when you realise it’s easier to say it in their language than hoping they will understand. It can happen.”

Of course, Portuguese and Spanish – for all their similarities – are not the same language. So Gabriel, while his Spanish may be decent (we’re guessing) is still at a slight disadvantage.

Get that man a bumper selection of Rosetta Stone CDs…


    • I don’t he has shown himself to be a viable option. Man utd game aside, he’s proven to be very rash in the challenge, struggled to keep his cool when provoked, and poor defensively in the box. His passing could also be better, so whilst it’s early days and he may turn out decent, he’s still got a lot to prove. Personally if rather chambers was given the opportunity as I think he could end up a very good centre back if given the chance (and doesn’t spend too long playing other positions)

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      • Gabriel has shown himself to be generally better positioned than Chambers (4 years younger). His passing has improved as well – he’s actually finding nearby players rather than always hoofing it out of bounds once it reaches his feet. Some of his faults remind me of Koscienly a few years ago when it seemed like for all the effort he put in, he just couldn’t stop getting own goals (ummm, not quite over that but a great defender nonetheless).

        Chambers has the opportunity to make the position his own. Adding the footballing brain to his skills would make for a modern day CB. My worry is that his versatility could mean he gets played in so many positions that he never gets to master one.

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        • I personally feel chambers would make a great DM. Firstly we need a good CB in the air to play alongside Gabriel in the years to come, and chambers is only 6ft tall. He’s probably got the best upper body strength compared to coquelin and El neny, and God knows we can use a player that can shrug off the press from the forwards and turn. We can’t seem to manage ball retention from anyone other than cazorla, Alexis, to an extent Giroud and Ramsey. Koscielny is good in the back. Ozil can produce moments of magic without being a great dribbler or keeping possession for long, but everyone else passes back or sideways under pressure. Imagine a confident dribbler on the right wing and a DM backup in chambers boosting our set piece defense and ability to turn under pressure.

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          • I want to scream when “everyone else passes back or sideways under pressure”, we usually lose the game right there. Gotta stop, but hey what if we had a proper CM, controlling the beat and the ball and passing it …… forwards? Ohh Santi Cazola….

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  1. To be honest 13 months is long time to learn English if you are really at it. I should know coz I was in the same situation as him when I came here.

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      • The only possible poor attitude is having low standards. When I highlighted last September/October that Gabriel should have been at least decent with his English people were quick to thumb me down. Same reaction last week, when I dared to pick neither between him and the BFG, so there you go.

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        • I can speak French and Italian but I cannot think in both that easily. During a game, you have to hear and comprehend technical terms that are being said on the fly. Cech is not saying “Hello my name is Petr and the rain in Spain helps to grow rice grain.” Players are giving each other explicit directions.

          I’m sure Gabriel can manage to buy his groceries and an oyster card without a trouble. Plus, in my opinion, english has nothing to do with why he was so far away for that 2nd goal, nor why Nacho hesitated on who to cover during the counter for Barca’s 1st goal

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          • I doubt that Gabriel knows what an Oyster card is. No need for one of those when you drive around in an Audi R8.

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    • I agree with you – if he’s been living here for 13 months and still can’t speak English that indicates to me he’s thick as horse shit.
      On the other end of the spectrum is Petr Cech, who learnt fluent English within 12 minutes of arriving in the UK.

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  2. Fucking hell. Just hit those clearances into the stands as opposed to opposing forwards and we won’t care less about your linguistic shortcomings.

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      • It could also be that whenever Arsene gives a motivational half-time talk, or whenever Bouldie is screaming instructions on the training ground or discussing video from previous games, Gabriel seems to have understood nothing other than the words ‘ok’ and ‘go’? It can be frustrating after 13 months I’d guess

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  3. Maybe it would be easier for ever else to learn Portuguese… Surely it would take them less than 13 months. These excuses for terrible defending sound very poor.

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  4. Why can’t Theo teach him English?. At least this way we will get some of our 140k a week back. Also, Theo writes children books.

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    • Hey if it keeps Theo off the pitch i’d have him cleaning boots. Absolute waste of a playing position at the moment. Id rather have Eboue there.

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      • The fact that Eboue for Walcott has hardly been downvoted is a shocking admission for how shit Walcott really is.

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  5. Is this seriously what it’s come to? Blaming language difficulties? I suppose this past decade plus of mostly 4th place Trophies can also be blamed on a lack of polyglots on the pitch. Dammit, Eboue, why couldn’t you have been able to speak Spanish to Cesc and Dutch to RVP? Would’ve won us the league, obviously.

    Let’s face it, the problem is “mental strength,” not language skills. And we all know why the “mental strength” has been lacking for years, no matter the players on the pitch.

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    • Not sure anyone has ‘blamed’ language for anything. It was a question Wenger was asked and he answered it. It’s a small factor in the overall picture and I don’t see that anybody has treated it as anything more.

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  6. Perhaps polyglot Petr mistakenly spoke in FRENCH to Gabriel in the heat of the moment. “Jump for the fucking ball, you’re a foot taller than Rashford” would be hard for Gab to interpret, perhaps?

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  7. Probably the English language issue made him to mess up last Sunday. He was completely awful. However, I don’t think him not understanding English very well is the problem. Apparently, I agree that understanding English will help him in the team relationship and communication.

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  8. I will probably get thumbed down but I don’t think Gabriel will ever be good enough if we want to win league and challenge in champions league. This is not a knee jerk reaction to Sunday’s loss but if you look at how many times United let him bring ball out into their half and just blocked off all passes and then forced him into playing someone into trouble. It looked like it was pre planned (Arsene take note) they knew how unsure he was in possession. We really missed bfg out there. He is not the best centre back but he brings calmness and gets the best out of kos. The defence look more assured when he is there. He becomes a scape goat when we lose because his lack of pace makes him an easy target. He has not been done that often for pace because he reads the game so well. It’s when we push up chasing games that he is most vulnerable. I remember him at city a couple of years back and he was sensational. Wenger will stick with Gabriel just as he stuck with PS, JD, SS, to name a few. I still hope we can win the league with 33 points available but I think we have taken 10 points in last 33 available so optimism is not high. Wenger took us into this season as only team in England who did not sign an outfield player. If we fail I hope he will resign with dignity.

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  9. No surprise to me, Don’t need English to get into a brawl.

    Let’s hope these are his “koscienly first years” and that he’ll be a brick wall next season.

    For now Mertesacker/Kos is more assuring.

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  10. I think fans of this our club need to calm down! And the players need to talk less before games!! Fans who pay gate fees have a right to be angry but I know a lot of them are not here always ranting off about everything wrong with arsenal!! Have some faith in this team. No one is perfect at the end of the day. COYG…the season is not yet over

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  11. I finally understand what happened in September, imagine you’re playing Chelsea, you’re in a field with 21 other players plus one referee, and the only person you can clearly understand is Diego Costa… Fucking hell, I’d get myself sent off too.

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  12. Plain English: get your fucking shit together lads, its squeaky bum time. Beat Swansea, beat or draw with Spurs, beat Hull, don’t lose by too much to Barca, go on a winning league run.
    PS: Gabriel has one bad game and suddenly he’s shit. The whole team was shit v Manure. At least we scored. FFS

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    • We are playing shite. Toothless in attack, our defence has more holes that a block of Swiss cheese, and we have Ramsey in centre midfield.
      Whereas those cunts down the lane have won 6 on the trot.
      Optimism is a good thing but temper that with a dose of realism.

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      • And yet, despite our being toothless in attack, only four teams have scored more league goals than we have. I guess the other 15 teams must be even more toothless. And despite our having a defense with more holes than Swiss cheese, only one team has allowed fewer goals than we have. I guess the other 18 teams’ defenses must all be worse than Swiss cheese. And despite being shit, we’re in third place in the league. What does that make the 17 team teams who are worse off than third place? While I agree completely that the last week has been one of incredible frustration, we’re certainly not the complete and utter shit that everyone seems to want us to be.

        Can’t argue with you about those folks down the lane being cunts, though.

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  13. Arsene is at it again!
    I get it now; Gabriel had a hard time on Sunday because he couln’t understand what the United boys were saying.
    The horrendous clearance for the first goal and the poor positioning for the second was down to his lack of a good command of English.
    Don’t get me wrong; ability to communicate is important on the pitch but a proffessional footballer can’t use that as an excuse; not even his manager.

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    • There is a lot of criticism going into that clearance, but have you ever tried to one-time a clearance another either gets a slight touch on or you think is going to right in front of you as you’re running back at your own goal?

      It looks to me that there was a slight touch by Kos and it was a very difficult one to put a clean boot onto. Of course I hope for better, but I think that was a very tough one to deal with.

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    • Wenger never used that as an excuse. Please stop disseminating misinformation.

      This is how it starts. Soon Wenger will become a “spin doctor”.

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  14. Thirteen months is a long time – he should be pretty good by now. Translation is harder and takes longer; but if you’re working all day in a foreign language you should be up to speed by then. Poor excuse.

    Having said that none of them really covered themselves in glory. English is Walcott’s first language…

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    • Hey Soweto, would you like to provide an example of that perceived lack of tolerance, in this blog? Simply not true. Plenty of non English speaking players on the pitch and also on this blog, always have been since Wenger era started.
      Multinational, both continental players and supporters and all the stronger for it…. reflected in this blog and BTL.

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  15. So this is why our all English famous back four, plus goalkeeper, did wonders.

    Arsenal’s defensive solidity is a Brexit argument that has been missed by most commentators.

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  16. Soweto Gooner, that is simply and blatantly untrue. There are many ‘non English speaking’ players for the Arsenal who have come and gone, from various continents, over the Wenger years. Also, people (such as yourself) who comment on this blog, plenty of tolerance all round.
    Arsene has always had a mix of nationalities in his team’s, and the British players have always been in a minority and certainly not always the most popular, by far….
    Can you give some or even one example of your impression?

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  17. Not being able to understand English after being here for 13 months? This is the creche at Colney people talk about. It was summed up by the fact, Alex Iwobi with his second or third league game for the club and only 20 minutes to go turned up with GLOVES on for FFS!!! All other senior members not wearing any gloves and none of the Man U players including the young Rashford.

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    • Funny. Where is this coming from? You view people who wear gloves as “showing off”. Maybe you have an issue with headband, long hair, tattoos too.
      Grow up and watch the football, leave the rest.

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  18. Fair enough. Wenger is an astute business man who speaks many languages and has given chances to a diversity of youth and foreign players aswell as British lads. I personally don’t care if we win the league THIS season as there’s always next. We have acted as a class act throughout this campaign with the exception of fake fans

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  19. Neither less manly nor less able. It just reflects the protective creche culture Arsene has developed. Do you really need a pair of gloves when you are running and working hard that should keep your hands warm? Would you advocate leggings so their legs don’t get cold?

    It’s all about attitude.

    PS – yes Rosicky does look ridiculous when he comes on with gloves on when the temperature is 15c!

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  20. Gabriel has pace. Apparently that’s everything.

    Per is too slow never mind he is positionally better.

    Ditto Elneny, never mind the back passes and the fact he is less physically robust in challenges plus makes a couple of rash ones, he is better than Flamini. Ditto Coquelin because with Le Coq, we won’t have empty space between defense and midfield thanks to his dynamic play.

    CLEARLY nonsense.

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  21. These players Elneny and Gabriel have potential but are brought in because of the timing of purchase.

    They need time to settle and meanwhile there is a danger they may cost us as they find their footing (As did Koscielny and Monreal for a while)

    Ther is an argument that Wenger should be buying higher priced players like say a Hummels or a Kongdogbia if available but I think there is a massive gap between the bargain basement finds in Gabriel Elneny (with risk) and the more established /hot names. Wenger has to find/discover something in between because clearly we can spend more these days for more immediate impact but we do not also want to be hostage to excessive pricing in current market. This is the difficulty at the moment.

    For those who chastise Wenger for not spending enough, how much have Leicester and Spurs spent over last summer? What’s our excuse?

    Developing understanding between players is the other key which is why Rammini and Meterscielny are more effective than some would deem to make fun of.

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  22. Lack off attention to detail. Wenger admits he doesn’t communicate on the pitch, so why hasn’t he been tutored sufficiently. Not everyone can speak fluent English, but any idiot can learn some basic terminologies in 13 months. These players are surrounded by other players all the time, don’t they help each other and why isn’t Wenger helping them adapt? Again, small details cost you points and games. You reckon Guardiola would allow this? No way.

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  23. I dont know Gabriel or his personal schedule but i truly hope he is learning english with concerted effort.

    I can appreciate its a shock moving to a country with shit weather but hes been here 14 or so months.

    I like most people work a standard 8hr day but still found a couple of hours each week to start learning Spanish and can now order food and drink in spanish with relative ease

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  24. Sorry but he’s been here 14 months.

    How has he not learned ‘get goalside of the striker before the cross comes in’

    He’s very good from open play but keeps making the same mistakes on crosses into the box.

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  25. That’s ridiculous. He’s in England for one year, how much time does it take to know the basic things you need to communicate with your team mates on the football pitch?! What the hell, he’s supposed to be reciting Shakespeare?!

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