A number of Arsenal fans have been discussing how William Saliba played for the Gunners Under-23s in their Premier League 2 game last night.
Arsenal signed the talented 19-year-old centre-back last summer from Saint-Etienne, but he was loaned back as part of the deal, helping them reach the French Cup final.
With Saliba now finally at the Emirates Stadium, manager Mikel Arteta has resisted the temptation to throw him into the first-team picture right away.
“I think it’s going to take him some time to adapt to our way of playing but as well to get adapted to the language, the rhythm, the physicality of the country,” Arteta said last week when asked why Saliba missed out on the Fulham squad.
With Arsenal in Premier League action on Saturday night against West Ham at the Emirates Stadium, it’s safe to say Saliba won’t be involved for the first team once again, following his 90 minutes for the U23s at Brighton.
Although he made a mistake for the hosts’ opening goal, he was overall quite impressive, showing great composure and quality to dominate play from deep, and helped his side to a 2-2 draw.
Here is what some Arsenal fans made of his display:
— Chris Moore (@chrismoore32) September 18, 2020
Made a mistake for the first goal and took some risks with passing but also had some very good moments where he was composed on the ball and he played a part in Olayinka’s goal. @jeorgebird
— BigSam💎 AFC🟥⬜ (@samistotle1) September 18, 2020
The first goal was his mistake but he was solid out of the back
— zach🎃 (@415_afc) September 18, 2020
For me, Saliba showed why he’s a big talent and also why he needs these warm-up games.
Loads of really nice incisive forward passes which will add a lot to the first team, but some slack touches too. Dominated the defensive duels.
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) September 18, 2020
Just looked so comfortable in every situation.
— Next Generation Arsenal 🔴⚪️ (@scoutingindoors) September 18, 2020
He played very well, he is very composed on the ball
Shades of VVD
— 49 (@Subcon3007) September 18, 2020
Saliba’s class is obvious, but having watched the U-23’s match against Brighton, you can see why he’s been kept back from 1st team involvement just now; a few sloppy passes & lacking a bit of sharpness but this will come. Right decision to let him develop without the pressure.
— Richie AFC (@blazing_cannons) September 18, 2020
Well to sum up Saliba that game
– Solid in the air
– Composed on the ball
– Reads the game well
But as for the negatives
— 𝘞𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘺™ 🇦🇶 (@AfcWoody) September 18, 2020
Saliba, very composed on the ball as we already know, always looking to drive and pass forwards (lost possession leading to dangerous counters several times as a result). Clearly needs more minutes under his belt #AFCU23 #PL2 #SalibaWatch
— El Profesor (@afc_dreamer) September 18, 2020