Trevor Sinclair believes Arsenal are suffering from the loss of David Luiz as a defensive mix-up saw the Gunners go behind at Aston Villa.
The Brazilian defender, 33, is suspended after his controversial red card at Wolves was upheld – with Gabriel stepping into the heart of Arsenal’s defence.
Gabriel was left short by a Cedric pass as Arsenal handed Ollie Watkins an opener in the second minute at Villa Park.
While Luiz has always had his critics, the former Chelsea defender has been one of Arsenal’s best performers this season, and Sinclair believes the goal at Villa proved how important he is for Mikel Arteta.
Speaking on commentary for talkSPORT, the former Man City winger said: “I see that loss of David Luiz and that experience and organisation that he brings to that back four.
“It’s a huge loss for this Arsenal side.”
It was a baptism of fire for Brighton loanee Mat Ryan, who was making his Arsenal debut in place of the suspended Bernd Leno.
The 28-year-old, signed in January, conceded just 74 seconds into his first Gunners appearance after a deflection off Rob Holding left the Aussie helpless.
He is the fourth Premier League goalkeeper to concede within two minutes of their debut – and Ryan was picking the ball out of his net before his first touch in an Arsenal shirt.