William Saliba was the star of the show as Arsenal again showed their title credentials by beating Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
In what was bound to be a tough test, Mikel Arteta’s side managed to grind out a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge after a goal in the 63rd minute by Gabriel Magalhaes.
However, Gabriel’s centre-back partner drew all the plaudits after yet another commanding display at the heart of the Arsenal defence by the 21-year-old Frenchman.
Since arriving at the Emirates Stadium back in 2019, Saliba has been sent out on loan to the likes of Saint Etienne, Nice and Marseille. After impressing in Ligue 1, Arteta handed Saliba a starting spot in his side this season.
The Frenchman never looked back as he grabbed the opportunity with both hands and has now nailed down his place in the team.
Against Chelsea, he was up against the likes of Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling and former Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
From the get-go, Saliba dominated his opponents both on the ground and in the air as he did not put a foot wrong. The Chelsea attack had an afternoon to forget as Saliba did not allow them any time and space. He managed to win possession 13 times, made three interceptions and was not dribbled past.
On the ball, the 21-year-old showed immense composure and class as he recorded a passing accuracy of 84.5% and boasted a crossing success of 100%.
After his colossal performance, Saliba was named player of the match by BT Sport commentator Jermaine Jenas.
The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder said: “I have to give it to William Saliba because he’s really impressed me. He’s commanded things from the back and been assured on the ball. He’s different class, he’s been in different gear all game really.”
Arteta praised both Saliba and Gabriel during his post-match interview, he said: “I think both of them. I think that pair again, they were outstanding, both of those.
“That’s why we sustained them really well, especially when we had to defend open spaces, which it is very difficult against these players - what we defend them to do. But I think they did it, great.”
William Saliba vs. Chelsea:— Connor Humm (@TikiTakaConnor) November 6, 2022
90 minutes played
49 passes (84.5% accuracy)
3 ground duels (2 won)
1 cross (100% completion)
1 clean sheet
Colossal performance. 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/3q5lyHeZpK
Arsenal are now two points ahead of champions Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, can the Gunners go all the way and win the title? Only time will tell.
Featured Image Credit: ArsenalComps
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