Arsenal fans have been waiting patiently to see last summer signing William Saliba in action, and despite injuries stacking up at the back, I don’t see the Frenchman featuring.
The 20 year-old joined the club from St Etienne 15 months back, with part of that deal including a 12 month stay with his former side.
That stay didn’t work out exactly however, with the defender missing chunks of the season through injury, before French football was cut-short thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Saliba has since returned to Arsenal, but the manager hasn’t deemed him as ready, although he has been much more positive on his new defender of late.
The manager has been much more positive about the defender of late however, leading some to believe he could well be closer to a call-up to the senior team following the loss of both David Luiz and Rob Holding to injury, but Friday night’s appearance casts doubt on that.
Saliba played over three quarters of the Under-23 fixture against Liverpool on Friday, which surely means that he will not be considered for the weekend’s match with Manchester United.
This will surely mean that Gabriel and Shkodran Mustafi will be starting the fixture at Old Trafford, but who will be on the bench should either need to come off is in doubt.
Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers haven’t featured yet this term, having been ruled out since last term, but the responsibility could well land on one of Mo Elneny, or Granit Xhaka.
The Swiss midfielder was used as a makeshift defender against Dundalk, while Elneny has played in defence on a number of occasions previously, while Sead Kolasinac could also be an option.
Could Saliba still be in contention for the bench after nearly 80 minutes of play on Friday?