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William Saliba stat will have Erling Haaland licking his lips ahead of Man City vs Arsenal

Ryan Smart

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William Saliba stat will have Erling Haaland licking his lips ahead of Man City vs Arsenal

Arsenal star William Saliba is reportedly set to miss Thursday's crunch Premier League fixture against Manchester City - and the Gunners' statistics without him in the team will encourage Erling Haaland.

Haaland has netted an incredible 32 Premier League goals in just 28 games this season, and has spearheaded City's charge towards another league title.

Pep Guardiola's side have been in second place for much of the campaign - they briefly took the lead of the division after beating the Gunners 3-1 in January - but another victory over the same opposition would put them in pole position to win the title.

City would be four points behind Arsenal with two games in hand, meaning Thursday's clash could be season-defining.

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The Gunners have struggled for form in recent weeks, letting two-goal leads slip against Liverpool and West Ham. Mikel Arteta's side drew both fixtures.

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They then went 3-1 down against relegation-threatened Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Friday, but recovered to draw 3-3.

Their difficulties in defence have coincided with the absence of Saliba, who suffered a back problem last month and has not played since.

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And a key statistic illustrates the Frenchman's impact on the team this season - which makes for good reading for Haaland and his team-mates.

Saliba stat shows Arsenal weakness

As posted by The Athletic's David Ornstein, Arsenal's defensive record this season without Saliba involved is in stark contrast to their record when he plays.

The Gunners have conceded nine goals in their five league fixtures without the young centre-back - an average of 1.8 goals per game.

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That is double the amount of goals let in compared to when Saliba does play, with an average of only 0.9 conceded across the 27 times the Frenchman has worn an Arsenal shirt this term.

Prior to the defender's back injury, the Gunners had the second-best defensive record in the league, behind Newcastle. They have now conceded more goals than both City and Chelsea.

But it is their comparative win rate that will concern Arteta more. With Saliba in the team, they have a 77.8 per cent win rate, compared to 40 per cent when he is out of team. Their average points per game, meanwhile, drops from 2.4 to 1.8.

The statistics show how important Saliba has been to Arsenal this term - and Arteta will be desperately searching for a way in which his side can secure a result against City without him.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy / Richard Callis/SPP / Sandra Mailer/Andrew Orchard sports photography/Alamy Live News

Topics: Arsenal, William Saliba, Injury, Manchester City, Erling Haaland, Premier League

Ryan Smart
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