Since his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace at the start of the season, William Saliba has become a key part of Arsenal’s revolutionary defence.
Looking back at the early stages of Mikel Arteta taking over the Gunners, in the hands of the Spanish strategist only the duo Sokratis and David Luiz, a “twisted” wall, but after calculated steps in the market. After the transfer, Arteta finally got himself a pair of central defenders with Saliba as an irreplaceable link next to Gabriel Magalhaes.
The Frenchman’s performance in Ligue 1 last season completely convinced Arteta. And the faith that the 48-year-old strategist had in his student was soon rewarded when Saliba played firmly, even being compared to the legendary Rio Ferdinand.
Former Saint Etienne defender quickly became loved by Arsenal fans. In the match where Saliba scored his first Premier League goal, a stunning left-footed strike against AFC Bournemouth, the Gooners at Vitality couldn’t stop singing his name.
However, the 21-year-old player is not without weaknesses. In recent encounters, Saliba often makes mistakes and this can be an alarm signal for the Gunners.
In both matches since the end of the World Cup, the French star has made mistakes leading to goals.
In the confrontation with Aston Villa, Saliba tackled the ball at the wrong time in the penalty area, helping the opponent to score the opening goal on 11 meters. Then in the match against Brighton, he once again lost points with a clumsy handling of the ball for Evan Ferguson to score a goal to shorten the score to 2-4.
Many people think that having to sit on the bench regularly at the World Cup makes Saliba lose his form. But obviously, the fact that this youngster makes mistakes must also be something new at Arsenal.
In the match against Leeds United, it was Saliba’s handball in the penalty area that gave the Yorkshire representative the opportunity to equalize, but fortunately Patrick Bamford missed the penalty. Even before that, Saliba headed the net Aaron Ramsdale in the encounter with Leicester City.
It is acceptable for a young player like Saliba to make mistakes. He still has a lot of time to learn and draw more experiences for himself. But obviously, The 21-year-old centre-back will need to get back to his previous form to help Arsenal keep their title hopes alive.
As Arsene Wenger said: “If I use a 20-year-old centre-back, I know he will cost me the whole season and I have to fight for that. A less talented 28 year old will cost me less points. But by the time he’s 23 or 24, you’ll have a top-class player.”
Truong Son | 13:45 05/01/2023