Mikel Arteta has praised William Saliba’s Premier League debut as he helped Arsenal to a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the opening game of the season.
Saliba was part of a back four that were forced to dig in during the second half as Crystal Palace fought hard from 1-0 down.
The 21-year-old has spent the last three seasons on loan at Saint Etienne, Nice and Marseille, but has forced his way into the starting 11.
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“Saliba was superb,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “For his age, he is built really well.
“You need the right balance. Physicality in this league is something where you can’t come up short. If you do, you will be exposed.
“It’s the same with Ben [White] to have another player in that backline who can make a difference.”
Arteta on ‘fear’ Jesus creates
Gabriel Jesus, who joined Arsenal from Manchester City in the summer, also impressed, particularly in the first half an hour, as he caused a headache for Palace up front.
Asked what Jesus will bring to the Gunners, Arteta said: “The fear factor. He’s always on your shoulder, when the ball is bouncing he has that intuition to get the ball off you and he’s never standing still
“He’s always on the move and ready to act. He’s so sharp and for defenders he’s difficult to play against.”
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Palace fail to take their chances
Roared on by the home crowd, Palace were much stronger in the second half and created numerous chances including Eberechi Eze’s one-on-one against Aaron Ramsdale which the Arsenal goalkeeper saved.
Patrick Viera was happy with the fitness of the players, after the team was split into two for pre-season, but rued the missed opportunities.
“We didn’t take our chances so of course I’m disappointed,” said Viera. “We should have scored one or two.
“If you want to win football matches you have to score goals. To beat the big teams, we may not create a lot so the chances we do create we have to score.”
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