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William Saliba's MOTM highlights in Arsenal debut vs Crystal Palace are astonishing

Josh Lawless

| Last updated 

William Saliba's MOTM highlights in Arsenal debut vs Crystal Palace are astonishing

William Saliba produced one of the best debut performances in Premier League history as Arsenal started the new campaign with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Friday night.

Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring 20 minutes in, before Marc Guehi headed home Bukayo Saka's driven cross to seal the three points five minutes from time.


New signings Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus both made their Arsenal debuts after joining from Manchester City in the summer.

But it was Saliba, a £27 million addition from Saint-Etienne in 2019, who made the biggest impression.

Until his outing against Crystal Palace, the 21-year-old had never played a single minute for the Gunners and instead spent the last three seasons on loan back in his native France.

Yet you wouldn't have known it going off his mature display against Palace, where he genuinely looked like a new signing.

Slotting in at centre-back alongside Gabriel Magalhães, he was unbelievably composed whenever Palace posed a threat - finishing the game with 100% take ons completed, 100% aerial duel success, 94% pass accuracy, seven ball recoveries and six clearances.

He also didn't commit a single foul, instead producing a perfectly clean tackle to thwart Wilfried Zaha inside the penalty area in the second half.

And his immense performance seriously excited Arsenal fans on his social media:

Mikel Arteta hailed Saliba's performance as "phenomenal" in helping Arsenal keep a clean sheet, but Gary Neville went a step further by comparing him to his former Manchester United teammate Rio Ferdinand.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

"We see a lot of players get stuck in between the first team and the reserves, and they don't get football," Neville said on Sky Sports after the game.

"Saliba has got football inside him and I was massively impressed by him.

"It reminded me of a young Rio Ferdinand. He'll actually get stronger, and his body will become more coordinated. He's such a young centre-back still at the age of 21.

"Crystal Palace away, that is a tough away game in the Premier League because they do throw everything at you. The forward players at Palace challenge you one on one, they drive at you all the time and they never give you a moment's peace.

"That is a big night for Saliba, making his debut with such a strong performance."

Next up for Saliba and Arsenal is a first home game of the season against Leicester at the Emirates on Saturday 13 August.

Featured Image Credit: Image: Twitter

Topics: William Saliba, Arsenal, Premier League, Crystal Palace

Josh Lawless
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