Rio Ferdinand raves about Arsenal’s ever-present William Saliba “Top, top player”

It hurts that we’ve come so far and didn’t lift the title but this season has been one we as Arsenal fans will look back on and be proud of. We have an extremely young team, with a young manager, and we managed to compete with arguably one of the strongest teams in the world and took it to them till the very last day of the season, something not many other teams have been able to do in the last 10 years.

Last season we fell short and it hurt, but this season it feels a bit different, this season it really feels like we’ve grown into the squad we used to be. This squad has the fight and the determination to do big things and unfortunately that’s come at a time where Manchester City are a formidable force, but with a little more time and investment, we can definitely win something big with this team.

I think the big difference between this season and last has been our defence. Last season we were leaking through goals and making silly mistakes at the back, but this season, we’ve been extremely consistent and have managed to look solid in almost every game and a lot of the credit for that must go to the centre-back partnership of Gabriel and Saliba.

Obviously, Ben White has had a great season also, but you can’t really look past the Arsenal CB’s when you’re talking quality, and two players who have come to be perfect for us this season on many occasions.

For me personally, there’s no other CB partnership that has been able to thrive like theirs this season, they have been the backbone of every game we’ve played and have somehow managed to put in consistent good performances and when games have been tough, they’ve been the duo who have been able to save us from losing big games.

Rio Ferdinand was waxing lyrical about Saliba after the game against Everton saying this “Saliba, by the way, little stat for you. The only outfield player in Premier League history to go the full season playing every game, every minute.”

“No, no doesn’t look tired. Top, top player. Has got huge, huge potential. I still think there’s levels for him to go. Him and Gabriel as a partnership, wow.”

It’s clear that everyone see’s what were seeing and we have two centre backs who connect so well together and have been able to build this partnership up from a place where we were really struggling and as I said, I think people need to give a lot of credit to our defenders for keeping us in the title race this season.

What’s your thoughts Gooners?

Daisy Mae


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  1. Saliba is an incredible talent, a generational talent likely, by the end of his career. It is unusual to see such skill, composure, and intelligence on the pitch in a player still so young.

    Very shrewd signing to get him early, and sure to pay dividends for years. For me one of the best and most consistent players in the team, only Rice comes close in terms of productivity and consistency.

  2. Once9 CAMPBALL MOVED ON And Gilberto, our invisible wall, vastly underrated by many EXCEPT our own knowing fans.

    And thereafter for number of years we had run of the mill centre backs and often awful ones, who were hopeless and who could not defend.

    It wa left to Arteta who understood that all great teams need great defences.

    I sincerely believe our current defence is the very best I have seen in our shirts since I began attending regularly back in 1958. Our current keeper who, though very good, is definitely NOT among out greatest ever keepers, rarely has great saves needed to make.

    THAT is how good our defence is, so that he rarely needs to make great saves at all
    Better, collectively, than our Invincibles. Better even than the GG defence, inherited and built on by Wenger. I consider SALIBA the most Rolls Royce of a CB I have ever seen in our shirt. BAR NONE AT ALL.
    In this piece Daisy, quite correctly, lauds out great defence,backed up by Rio Ferdinamd who was himself a great defender.

    How very true then is the saying that a great team is built, first and foremost, from THE BACK!

    1. 2003-2004 – goals conceded 26
      2023-2024- goals conceded 29
      Ridiculous claim from a known Wenger hater .
      I would t expect anything different
      You say collectively better than the invincibles 😂😂😂😂
      Only defensive player that would get into that team would be Saliba and even then it might be a push seeing the league was a completely different beast in that era .
      Let’s not forget Saliba was signed by Emery and Arteta didn’t trust him and signed Luiz and Mari before giving him a chance .

        1. I really do wonder what, exactly, drives this man to ridicule himself time after time regarding Arsene Wenger, DK .
          Wenger didn’t build on Grahams defence, he built a completely new defence from scratch, including the keeper!!

          He waffles on about points gained each season and claims that THIS shows the club is improving under MA, but then completely ignores what went on from when he says AW should have left in the 2010/11 season, as we were, supposedly, in a downward cycle, so let’s use the same criteria regarding points and league positions.

          Here’s the points tally from 10/11 up to and including the 15/16 season and where we finished
          68 points 4th / 70 – 3rd / 73 – 4th / 79 – 4th / 75 – 3rd / 72 – 2nd.
          The complete opposite to what was being claimed in that the increase in points showed we were getting better (all bar the 70 /3rd season) but the lowest point tally saw us finish the highest!!

          Of course that doesn’t fit the scenario being pushed,but if one just checked before making such statements, it would help, so let’s look at the goals against in those seasons, bearing in mind the statement about run of the mill defenders.

          43 – 49 – 37 – 41 – 36 – 36.

          So, in FACT, the defence was IMPROVING every season, bar the second figure, on the initial 43 AND the league positions in those last three seasons were also improving 4th 3rd 2nd!!!

          On to your point about Saliba and I see Adams, Campbell, Keown and Gabriel as the comparisons we should use when assessing him.

          There is no doubt that a centre back partnership is essential, even if one is deemed a Rolls Royce… the other one could be a Fiat Panda and it just wouldn’t work.

          Adams/Bould – Mertesaker/Kos – Campbell/Toure – Saliba/Gabriel
          are ALL partnerships that worked together and only the latter, to date, has NOT won a trophy – but it will happen.

          As individuals, I see Saliba, Campbell and Adams, along with Keown, as perfect examples of what a central defender should be… majestic, powerful, leaders, determined, athletes and team players.

          I do think that MA handled Saliba correctly, inasmuch as he wanted him to gain experience,.
          But, as he himself admits, he didn’t handle this young man correctly when he left him out of every squad he named.
          I don’t think UE can claim to be one of his signings either by the way.
          He is, without doubt, one of the finest defenders around at the moment and praise must be given to those who signed him in the first place, along with MA developing him in the last two seasons.

          Finally, the idea that it was only Arteta who understood all great teams need great defences!!😂
          You mention Luiz and Mari – what about Cedric, or playing Partey at right back?
          Zinchenko at left back?
          Saliba was part of the “mess” inherited, got rid of Martinez and, it seems Ramsdale, bought in some Icelandic keeper who’s name I can’t remember and let the only proper LB we had, Tierney, go out on loan.
          Indeed, one MIGHT think it was only Arteta who understood what a great defence was all ABOUT, but the realists amongst us can actually remember those early days.

          This is NOT a rant about our CURRENT brilliant manager, but a breakdown of what happens when someone doesn’t check the facts and tries to belittle great managers such as George Graham and Arsene Wenger.

          Let’s revisit our current defence, when they’ve been part of a double winning squad…..which I hope and believe will be next season ☑️

          1. Such a basis misconstruing of my whole post. No context at all in his reply! No accepting at all that what MA inherited was a bunch of misfiteds with shirkers and demotivate players going down hill.
            But I am not remotely surprised by that, as I have come , through the years to expect no less from “this man”!

      1. Agree Dan, this seasons defence has been good but the invincibles and the Winterburn, Adams, Keown/Bould, Dixon, defence was in my opinion better. This defence firstly can improve and, unlike the two defences mentioned, has to win something for it too matter. Until then there is no argument.

        1. I disagree.
          There is a debate. There can be different opinions, of course but it is arrogant to suggest there is no argument.
          There is, for example, a difference between the challenges each of these teams is up against. None of those previous Arsenal double wining teams etc. were up against a team like this MC.

          1. DAVID WHAT YOU SAY IS CALLED CONTEXT. Brighter fans are well aware of its importance.

            Lesser intellects ignore its existence altogether. Sigh!

          2. There is no argument. Both those defences won major honours. Ours to date haven’t. Both those defences were legendary, the present one isnt. When they have actually achieved something then there is a debate, until then, its futile because there is no comparison.

            1. Plus David, dont get touchy. I said, this defence can improve and actually win something.

            2. Winning major honours depends on several factors, not just the defence. The fact of one team winning major honours is not enough to declare the defence “better”.
              The rest of the team, including midfield and attack, the set up of the team, and goals scored. The relative strength of the opposition is also important as a factor.
              Those teams from the past were, of course, great for the time in which they played.

          3. I disagree.
            At the time of The Invincibles, we had united who had become the first club to win the treble – then we had chelsea, with Abramovitch spending money like water – then we had city with the sheikh and his country’s immense wealth – we had the cost of the Emirates build to contend with, while trying to stay with these three teams.

            In GG’S day, we had liverpool who, at the time, were the powerhouse in the country.

            In BM’S day, we had liverpool once again.

            I really find it interesting that, whenever we discuss our past achievements, it seems that certain fans always want to describe our past results as being so much easier for one reason or another.

            United were a dominant force for years along with Liverpool, yet the tired old excuse that it was only us and one other contesting for the title always rears it’s head.
            How many clubs were contesting the title this season?
            Oh!! It was ONLY city and Arsenal, with pool a distant third!!!
            Laughable, absolutely amazing what some of our own supporters say about our achievements.

            1. Ken, you forgot to mention the Leeds Utd team of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Our first double season we had to win or get a 0-0 draw in N17 to clinch the title from Leeds. A score draw, as you know, would have handed the title to Leeds, or as they were known in those days as Dirty Leeds.

              1. HD, as a long term supporter, I’m glad that you are proof reading and improving my posts 😂👍
                I can’t believe that someone says only MA knows how to build a defence… especially after, it is claimed, going to watch George Grahams defensive masterclass squad and the equally superb Arsene Wenger’s own Invincibles.

                Of course he is on track to have a brilliant defence, but it seems he forgot to have a proper LB and that’s been our Achilles heel.

                Are you ready for next season by the way?

                1. I don’t think MA will go for a proper Left Back Ken, much like City haven’t.

                  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go to The Arsenal again, as I’m still struggling to walk without my wheeled walker. Be to much aggro on the train and the tube 😞

                  1. So sorry to hear that mate.
                    I really hope things improve for you during the summer days.
                    It might be worth asking the club if they could defer your s/t for a season – they did that for my grandson, when he was taking his final exams at uni.
                    Fingers crossed for your recovery.

                    What I find so annoying is the fact that Holloway Road closes before a game and that’s the end where us oldies are shunted too.
                    I believe that the club and LT agreed to build a walkway from the underground straight into the stadium, but the cost proved to be too much… Were you aware of that?

                    1. I think the lifts at Holloway Rd are a bit restrictive for the thousands that will want to get to the trains after each game Ken, and the alternative staircase is definitely a safety hazzard. I thought they had agreed to pay for an upgrade, but perhaps the walkway you mention is what they had in mind. I used to take the longer walk to Caledonian Rd Underground, and was often the only person waiting for a train😉.

            2. The year of the Invincibles Man United were nowhere near the level of their greatest teams or this MC and whilst Chelsea were on the rise they were yet to become the dominant force in the PL. MC were nowhere near the levels they were to become in later and more recent times.
              The success of the Invincibles was at a time of a relatively weaker side at MU (several years after the treble winning team) and pre-Mourinho.

        2. Reggie, the thinkers and realists amongst us actually use the history and records within the club to prove points.
          This crazy idea that increasing points won, means we are improving holds no water, when one gives examples of the complete opposite with ACTUAL FACTS.
          To try and say that a defence that has won NOTHING, is better than two defences (GG’s and AW’s) who are recognised around the country as the pillars of our success, is absolutely ridiculous.
          To add insult to injury, the claim that only Arteta knew how to build a defence, gives me hope that others will see through the insanity of cult worship!!

          1. Ken, I really think some posters, dont think what they write. To compare thos defence with the icons of the past is just ludicrous. Im gobsmacked by the lack of reason. And lack of respect.

          2. Dismissing the points total in favour of final placing may be a form of “realism”.
            However, analysis of total points, along with other metrics does demonstrate thought about the game. Analysis of such metrics can be used to guide your approach to achieving and sustaining performance from year to year.

  3. Ridiculous claim from DK who is wel;known for posting personal insults to all of my posts, since he hatesthe fact that I refused to pay daily worship to his hero Wenger . Even though,as I have often said , I am so grateful that Wenger rnanaged our club, though I felt and said he ought to have left long before he eventually did.

    To DK, that meant ” I hated Wenger”!

    Sadly, true intellect is not given to all Gooners!

    1. I agree with you on this Jon, even though Wenger remains our best ever manager, he is also one of the best managers ever in EPL, he should have left years before he did leave, EPL and football generally outgrew his managerial ability.

      Wenger almost ran the club he elevated to world standard to the mud, the rebuilding of Arsenal FC would have taken less years had Wenger left the club early enough. I still and would always have maximum respect for him though.

      1. So Angelo, when would you have said AW should have left?
        I see you mention “years” so what season exactly?

  4. That people are making positive comparisons of the three defenses just shows how good the current one is

    1. Jax, nobody isn’t saying it isn’t but trying to compare this one with the other two, is ludicrous. Now if someone said, this defence has the potential to be as good, then that is different. There was a reason, the other two defences won, in Europe, did did doubles, won leagues, won cups, went unbeaten ALL season (this season we lost 5) and actually won something. Even GGs defence lost ONLY once in a season. No comparison, Yet.

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