Rio Ferdinand has blasted Arsenal defender Gabriel after his “stupidity” coincided with him being sent off against Manchester City on New Year’s Day.
The Gunners put in a brilliant performance against the league leaders. They went ahead before the break as Bukayo Saka got on the scoresheet.
The game turned on its head in the second half as Man City were awarded a spot-kick. Gabriel was booked as he attempted to scuff the penalty spot before Riyad Mahrez stepped up.
Mahrez still scored and a couple of minutes later, Gabriel received his second yellow card as he fouled Gabriel Jesus.
As quoted by The Metro, Ferdinand said post-match that “petulant” behaviour from Gabriel resulted in him being sent off:
“This is stupid, this is immature, this is petulant. A penalty against your team… what do you think you’re achieving by doing that?
“This is where the stupidity enhances itself. He’s not going in on goal, he’s not a threat, he’s in the middle of the pitch and straightaway after that incident you commit a silly foul like that.
“You’re in disbelief, I don’t understand it.
“You’ve got time to think, you know know you’re on a yellow card. You get a yellow card in a game and automatically you think, ‘Right, I’ve got to adjust the way I approach certain situations now.’
“He has had red mist. He’s still thinking about the penalty and that’s the problem. He’s thinking about the penalty that went on previously and he’s in that moment there.
“He doesn’t see that the referee is only 10 yards away and he’s half a pitch away from the goal area where there’s going to be a danger. There’s no danger.”
Ferdinand went onto suggest that Gabriel should learn from the likes of Ruben Dias and Virgil van Dijk:
“He’s got to be the leading centre half here at the moment and you’ve got to curb that. You’ve got to take the emotion out of the situation,” Ferdinand added.
“When you’re in the heat of battle you won’t see Dias doing that, you won’t see Virgil van Dijk doing that. They then calm the others around them, that’s what leaders do.
“You can get amped and uptight in a situation. But when the game restarts you have to have laser focus back on the job.
“He is the total opposite of that. Maybe it’s inexperience but that’s something I feel people behind the scenes at Arsenal really need to get a hold of because you can’t continue losing people.”