“He reminded me of a young Rio Ferdinand” – Gary Neville ‘massively impressed’ by Arsenal star during Gunners’ 2-0 win against Crystal Palace

Gary Neville ‘massively impressed’ by Gunners star during Gunners’ 2-0 win against Crystal Palace
Gary Neville ‘massively impressed’ by Gunners star during Gunners’ 2-0 win against Crystal Palace
Nnanna Mba

Arsenal defender William Saliba made his debut for the Gunners in their 2-0 opening day win over Crystal Palace on August 5. The young defender was a composed and a reassuring presence at the heart of the Arsenal defense at Selhurst Park.

He drew praise from Sky pundit Gary Neville for his performance. Speaking to Sky Sports (via Express), the former Manchester United player said:

"The most important thing for young players is to play football. They get stuck in between first-team and reserves, he’s got football inside him. Look, I was massively impressed by him. He reminded me of a young Rio Ferdinand and he will become stronger and his body will become more coordinated, he’s such a young centre-back."

Neville added:

"Crystal Palace away is a tough game, they throw everything at you, they drive at you all the time, that’s a big night for him. The clean sheet coming through that second half when they wasn’t at their best was the most enjoyable thing for Mikel Arteta."
William Saliba, man of the match on his first Premier League night after a top season in Ligue1… and key part of Arsenal project. ⚪️🔴 #AFC“He’s top, top player. You can see the progress”, Arteta said days ago and trusted him again.

The young defender spent the last three years on loan in Ligue 1 with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille. He has now returned to the Emirates after recording impressive performances in France. Arsenal and Arteta will be pleased with his debut (three years after joining the Gunners) and will hope he can build on his start at the club.

William Saliba's Premier League debut for Arsenal:100% take-ons completed100% aerial duels won94% pass accuracy49 passes7 ball recoveries6 passes into final third6 clearances3 duels won0x dribbled past0 goals conceded0 fouls committedWorth the wait. 🍾

Saliba will hope his performances can help the Gunners return to the Champions League come the end of the season. His impressive performances might also help him land a spot in Didier Deschamps' France team at the end of the year for the Qatar World Cup.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: Match Report

New Arsenal signing Oleksandre Zinchenko had an impressive debut for the Gunners. The versatile Ukrainian played at left-back and picked up a clean sheet in his first competitive outing following his arrival from Manchester City this summer. He also got an assist for the opening goal of the new season.

Zinchenko headed a Bukayo Saka corner into the path of Gabriel Martinelli in the first half to open the scoring. Arsenal remained in control of the game despite Palace creating some chances after this. The Gunners doubled their tally at the 85-minute mark after Marc Guehi accidentally headed a Saka cross into his own net.

Edited by Diptanil Roy


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