Arsenal defender Gabriel will be forced to miss the next three matches due to self-isolation under Covid protocols, the club have announced.
The Brazilian has been flagged as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus and as well as Saturday’s clash with Chelsea, will also sit out games against Brighton and West Brom.
That means Gabriel has already played his last game of 2020. He will not be able to play until January.
Gabriel has played 15 games in all competitions for Arsenal since joining the club in the summer. They have kept four clean sheets in those games.
His absence for the next three games will be a major blow to a side already struggling for confidence.
Arsenal went into their Boxing Day fixture down in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Brazilian duo also out
Compatriots David Luiz* and Willian were also ruled out of the Chelsea game by illness, though the club clarified they had tested negative for Covid-19.
The club tweeted: “Updates on the following players – Gabriel – COVID close contact, now isolating and will miss the next three matches.
“David Luiz and Willian – both are unwell but have both recently tested negative. We will continue to monitor, support and assess their conditions.”
Arsenal will now have to dig deep for defensive options as two of their most-used players at the back will be missing.
*Buy David Luiz and thousands of other players on Football Index. 18+, UK and Ireland customers only, begambleaware.org. T&Cs apply.