Arsenal continued their fine start to the season with a 3-1 win against north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend. They now sit atop the Premier League table with 21 points from eight matches.
Saliba’s performances in defense have been integral to the Gunners’ form so far this campaign. He has helped the team keep three clean sheets in the league, while also contributing to as many goals.
The centre-back joined the north London giants in 2019, but spent the last three seasons on loan in France. He was prepared to leave the club permanently if he was not guaranteed regular playing time upon returning in the summer.
However, Mikel Arteta has since shown his trust in Saliba by making him a regular starter for his team. The Spaniard is already reaping the rewards of his decision as the 21-year-old continues to impress for Arsenal.
Assessing Saliba’s displays this season, Petit pointed out how the defender had concerns about his playing time with Arsenal. The former Gunners midfielder went on to claim that the youngster has stabilized Arteta’s backline. He told Premier League Productions [via HITC]:
“He made a big impression back in France when he was playing in Marseille. He has also earned his France caps with the national team because he was brilliant all season.”
“I think he came back to the club, he wasn’t sure Arteta wanted him to play him and he wanted some guarantees. He has shown maturity for the last two seasons and leadership in the middle of the defense. He played well, that’s the most important.”
“He has grown up as a person and a football player. I think he has taken more responsibility and he has shown more confidence as well – Saliba has stabilized the defense and they are getting more confidence.”
Arsenal face Liverpool in the Premier League next
Having beaten Tottenham, Arsenal will now turn their attention towards their upcoming UEFA Europa League game. They are scheduled to lock horns with Bodo/Glimt on Thursday (October 6).
The Gunners will then return to action in the Premier League on Sunday (October 9). They will take on last season’s runner-up Liverpool, who are yet to win away from home in the league this term, at the Emirates Stadium.