Arsenal signing Pablo Mari makes first appearance in Gunners shirt as U23s lose to Chelsea

Malik Ouzia
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Spanish defender Pablo Mari’s first appearance in an Arsenal shirt ended in defeat as the Gunners’ U23 side were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in their Premier League 2 clash.

Mari became Mikel Arteta’s first signing as Gunners boss when he arrived from Flamengo in January, initially on a loan deal, though there is an option to make the deal permanent in the summer.

He is yet to make his debut, having been left out of the squad for the 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday despite taking part in the club’s midseason training camp in Dubai.

As he looks to build fitness, the 26-year-old partnered fellow first-teamer Rob Holding in central defence for the game at Meadow Park, playing 45 minutes as goals from Armando Broja and Charlie Gilmour saw the Blues come from behind after Folarin Balogun had put Arsenal ahead.

Speaking during the break, Arteta suggested Mari would be eased into the team gradually: "He is a new player and I am sure he is very excited and wants to prove everything in three days, so we have to manage him wisely."