Arteta is full of praise for Arsenal’s brilliant centre-back partnership

I am pretty sure that Arsenal’s Gabriel and William Saliba defence is here to stay for the forseeable future. That’s the impression I get from Mikel Arteta’s remarks regarding his two centre backs.

“I think they clicked straight away and that is something as a coach you really hope for. When you talk about partnerships those two positions are key.” said Mikel Arteta of our brilliant defensive duo.

“There is a chemistry and an understanding, they complement each other in a great way and everyone has a clear role which is accepted.

“They are getting better and better but they are still super young for the position they play but they can still get better.”

It is common knowledge that for defenders to play well, they must be on the same page; they must complement each other, and Mikel Arteta, as noted above, believes that is what Saliba and Gabriel have been doing.

Surprisingly, Gabriel appeared to have fallen out of favour at the Emirates at the start of the season. He was left out of the starting lineup for the first three games of the season. Many thought Arteta had moved on from him, even after playing him in every league game in the 2022–23 season.

That was not the case, as he has been solid since returning to the starting lineup on Match Day 4. He hasn’t made impulsive decisions like he used to. Many people credit Saliba for Arsenal’s defensive strength, but they forget that it is Gabriel who complements him.

Clearly, thus far this season, Arsenal’s defence appears to be their strength; they have conceded the fewest goals (15). They have the most clean sheets (7) of any team. These two together would be incapable of putting up a poor defence.

Even if a move for a defender like Goncalo Ignacio is being discussed, I doubt Mikel Arteta will be persuaded to break up the Gabriel-Saliba partnership. Why change something that is working, unless the Boss is only covering himself in case of an unexpected injury crisis…

All Arsenal fans (and Arteta) must be praying that neither of these two suffer any serious injuries this season.

Daniel O

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Tags Arteta Gabriel Saliba


  1. One has to wonder what the gaffer was thinking leaving out the Brazilian from our starting eleven, earlier in the campaign, even more so at a time he was on the verge of breaking in his national team.

    It is even more puzzling that he was personally hand pick by the gaffer.
    Surely he has come under tremendous pressure by fans constantly on the hunt for a scapegoat.

    It is reasonable to say his performance is of such the promising new Polish, can hardly have a bite at the cherry.

    1. He was definitely trying something different, with partey also at RB, it enabled us to switch into an attacking back 3 with partey and rice in midfield when we had the ball. He was sacrificing a CB for a more flexible playing style. It didn’t quite work out but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d persisted for longer had timber not been injured.

  2. Daniel O.
    First of all I think the dropping of the ccentreback Gabriel Magalhaes by Arteta from his starting XI team. At the start of the season in the first 4 Arsenal Epl matches. Was Occasioned by the experimentation with playing a back-three by Arteta. Which saw Thomas Partey being played at left back position in the Arsenal defence.
    But as time event by and the team struggled in not accustomed with playing a back-three defence formation and Partey became injured. Arteta reverted to the back-four team defence and reinstated Magalhaes to the defence. But who seemingly might have transferred to the Saudi Arabia Pro League had it not for God’s intervention that saved him..

  3. A sound article essentially, even though its main contention is surely blindingly obvious to all,(possibly excluding Grandad though, in the caseof GABRIEL, who has often seemed oddly criticised by Grandad, albeit for reasons only he seems to understand).

    To my mind, SALIBA and GABRIEL is our best CB partnership since the halcyon days of Adams and Bould. Better even than Campbell and Toure.

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