William Saliba was delighted to get his first competitive minutes for Arsenal and is looking forward to more gametime this season.
THE LOWDOWN: LOTS OF PROMISE
William Saliba was among the top performers in the opening weekend as Arsenal claimed a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
The highly-rated Frenchman was trusted in the Gunners’ starting lineup and featured as one of the centrebacks, alongside Gabriel Magalhaes.
Debuts can always be tough, especially for young players, but there was none of that with Saliba, who oly got his first competitive minutes for the Gunners, looked like he had been playing Premier League football for a while.
The 21-year-old perfectly went about his business and delivered a man-of-the-match performance, which helped Arsenal to their first clean-sheet of the season.
Mikel Areta was quick to praise the Frenchman after a rather promising debut and the player himself is now looking forward to more action.
THE LATEST: ‘HUNGRY’ SALIBA EAGER FOR MORE
As debuts could go, it couldn’t have come any better for the 21-year-old, and having finally tasted Premier League football, he is already eager for more action.
Speaking after the Crystal Palace victory, he said: “It was very good because we start with a win and a clean sheet. It was a tough game, but we won at the end, so very good. I’ve waited a long time, but we (did it) in my first ever game, and I am so happy.
“It’s very good when you start to have your first (chance) in this amazing club. So I am so happy, and hungry for more.”
Asides his own individual performance, Saliba also praised his teammates for their collective efforts in ensuring that they maintained their lead and held on for their first win of the campaign.
“We knew it would be a very hard game, but we were prepared and we were focused,” he added.
“It’s good for the confidence, it’s very good and I hope we will keep going like this.”
“We play as 11 and the players who came home, they gave their maximum. It’s a good team, when we play like this it’s very good.”
THE VERDICT: A GOOD HEADACHE FOR ARTETA
Saliba was only named in the starting lineup due to Takehiro Tomiyasu’s injury, which led to Ben White featuring as a makeshift right-back. However, a performance like that is a statement from Saliba and one showing that he is more than ready for first-team football.
Will Ben White be the one to miss out? Will Tomiyasu remain on the bench? Or will Saliba be ultimately dropped when all personnel are fit? One of these players will be left disappointed with Arteta’s decision but one has to be made at the end of the day.
Regardless, it is more good than bad that Arteta has the headache of quality players to choose from and it would be interesting to see how the Spaniard goes about it. We already described Saliba as a gem for Arsenal and the early indication has at least shown we got that right.