Saliba’s return to unlock the best in others?

William Saliba has returned to Arsenal to take up a first-team role, and it could be perfect for his team-mates.

The Gunners seemed to line up with a 3-5-2 formation today, with Ben White interchanging between RCB and RB, and it couldn’t have worked out better.

We earned a 6-0 win with a thoroughly impressive performance from start to finish, and I can’t wait to see more of the system.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bukayo Saka were given the wing-back roles, and both are definitely deserving of further action in those positions, while Gabriel Martinelli was dangerous on the wing and acting as the second striker.

I can’t help but feel like White is perfect for the RCB role in a three, and Saliba’s return could well mean that we could be yet to see much more from him.


Tags William Saliba


      1. Gabriel 2025 no rush next summer
        Saka 2024 ideally this summer and all hints seem it will but no disaster if it take a bit longer
        Partey 2025 and he’ll be 32 then so clearly no rush we’ll do that in 2 seasons time if needed
        Saliba 2024 ideally this summer and all hints seem it will but no disaster if it takes a bit longer

        Odd messsage realy.

        1. Happy to let Saka and Saliba run down to 1 year? Very naive and just asking for history to repeat itself.

      2. Could love to see other new signings play too…. congratulations to
        And The Gabriels
        Indeed we have long way to go and work to do .. premier League is still not friendly and easy as we may think

  1. All we need is back up for Partey or a strong midfielder & an attacking winger/forward to finish this window as the project rebuild of this young team is in full flow.

    Saliba brings us so many options in systems with 3 or 4 at the back & the kid can play as can Ben White as a RB/RCB. If Tomi & Teirney can get fully fit then our defence is very strong indeed with Partey shielding them.

    Zinchenko can play LB/LWB/CM/LW, he is going to shine here at Arsenal & let’s Taveres go get a good season under his belt just like Saliba did at Marseille.

    Gabriel Jesus has been a super signing and Øde becoming permant captain was a nice touch by the club right before the season, more stability. Martinelli has stepped up his game & Saka looks a lot fitter now, Smithrowe hopefully returns to fitness soon too & Eddie grabbing a goal was nice to see as he keeps up his goal scoring touch since he’s came into the team ahead of Laca.

    Things are looking really good atm at the club, few more exits and 2more incomings before the window is closed and we’re ready to go.

    I would like Gakpo & Teilimans to come to the club.

    1. Totally agree with you, let go a few more who doesn’t want to stay or doesn’t fit into our team like Lucas, Hector, Pepe, Mari, Leno, etc

      Sign Gakpo and Tielemans
      We will have a very good squads

        1. He is, but he wants to play ahead of Ramsadale or leave. Obviously that attitude says you can’t keep him. A player can only be good to you if he is willing to fight for his position, not the one who thinks it’s his birthright to start the game. Acknowledging that your competition is playing better than you is the first step towards recovery your spot because from there you know what to do to be better than him. Unfortunately he wants out, so he should be allowed to leave.

          1. I honestly think it’s purely a commercial move to appease/hype our fanbase in the US. Seen every minute he played, definitely not top league material, not even close…

    2. Tielemans seems to be the right man for me, always focused,never lose hope,energy and his passing ability is just incredible, Mikel should create an environment of pure competition in midfield as he has done in defence.
      Elneny and Ashley must step up their gaming
      GX 34 is best but rough at times when we need to cool and control the game
      Well done Mikel💕💖❣️

    3. Saliba would be wasted as a full back.. He shouldn’t be any place other than a CB and he’s so composed and calm

  2. Zinchenko swapped his position with Xhaka’s frequently, to tuck inside and distribute the ball in the left midfield area. It was an intricate tactic from Arteta

    Saliba helped a lot as a part of our spine, thanks to his dominance in duels

    But the most important part of the spine is Jesus, due to his skills, movement, hold-up play and positional interchange with Martinelli. Before he came, our front line wasn’t as dynamic

    1. Gai,
      Chrystal palace for a while seem a”thorn in the flesh” of Arsenal but, from ehat i have seen in pre-season i think Arsenal would give them a run for their money on Friday i think it’s a winnable game of 3 points for Arsenal. Palace won’t be able to stop Arsenal front line. If the Boys are fit only few teams in EPL would be abke to stop them from scoring.

    1. All I can say is that I like what I see it gives me hope.Now for the real CP on Friday, Big Up Gooners.

  3. Watching some of the couplings, Odegaard and Saka, and Jesus and Martinelli, working together is inspiring. We need another midfielder and striker because we WILL get injuries. Wiliam Saliba is the jewel in the crown. Jesus is mega exciting, but Saliba is our Virgil van Dijk….that means we are right in there with a chance of challenging in any game. Good stuff.

    1. I’d we play this way then we also have the option of using Tierney as LCB, he plays there for Scotland

    2. vieiera can cover odegaardm esr can play left. really its just saka that needs a good cover cause pepe is not good enough

  4. Utter BS.
    Today game is the only game I really give him much flowers because of his proficiency in tight space which I think may as well be his downside someday because epl is different.
    He will have his time but I’ll not trust him over Ben white who has done it for us a whole season in the league. If everyone is fit, white start.
    And for your info author, we have always been playing that way, Tomi, playing as RCB and we attack from left

    1. Sorry to disagree but White isn’t on par with Saliba as a CB. He lacks the height, strength, and positional awareness of Saliba.

      White gets caught out of position and ball watching too much. White is a good player but not great, not better than Saliba.

      As for last year, our defense wasn’t as good as the previous with Bellerin, Luiz, and Leno. Not to mention Brighton actually finished higher in the table without White.

      That’s why I say he is good but not great. Let’s see how they do this season, I believe Saliba will cement his partnership with Gabriel.

      1. couldn’t agree more with you, saliba looks sharper than White. I don’t even recommend him as right fullback, I’ve seen him on that match, he can pass one player easily but losses the ball to the second opponent player, almost causing trouble, good thing there’s player cover for him. martinelli a mature player now ! while saka still need to learn when to dribble, pass or shoot, hasn’t mature yet…

      2. I completely agree with you, add pace there you will find Ben White trailing behind Saliba in comparison. I will pick William Saliba ahead of Ben White any day. It’s good that BW can play well as RB because we know Tomi can’t finish a season without being injured. So we have best cover there ahead of Cedric.

      3. You may be correct, but until I see Saliba play in the cauldron of the EPL for a month or two, I shall refrain from making comparisons between White and the young French “star”. To me, White has the potential to be a great CB.As you say he has to improve in certain areas, but I am confident he will and become a huge asset.Many great centre backs have not been giants, and while I appreciate the importance in terms of winning the aerial battles , I think you will find that the incidence of headed goals in the EPL is a good bit less than that in the lower divisions in England.

    2. Are you stupid? Do you want to miss out on Champions League football again? Saliba did that for Marseille, the manager left the club (Jorge Sampaoli) because the club couldn’t get Saliba back. Support Arsenal FC not Ben White FC please.

  5. 352 eh?

    Well… I said a long time ago that it looked as if this would be a formation used a lot next season.

    I’m no tactical expert but when you look at the type of players being bought and the roles they can play, many of them being versatile… it looked like 352 was the plan. Or at least, a formation that would be used a lot of the time.


    – There are lots of CBs on the books, too many to be playing 2 at a time.
    – All the people who can play FB are good WBs.
    – There are a lot of versatile players who can play WB, including some wingers.
    – Nobody’s been rushing to buy in dedicated FBs as cover for two very injury prone starting FBs.

    I may be proved wrong as the season develops, but I just don’t see how a 4 at the back system will survive even one injury to a key player with the current squad, especially on the left side (White/Saliba can play RB but only Zinchenko is really cover for KT at LB). Can Zinchenko really play LB in 4 competitions for a whole season if KT is injured?

    1. Do you expect KT to be injured all season? Yes he’s injury prone, but not for a full season. If KT doesn’t play the 1st half of the season (God forbid), expect us to be looking for an actual LB in the winter window, because to answer your question, no, Zinchenko can’t play a full season in 4 different competitions…none of our players can.

      1. It doesn’t have to be a whole season to wear out the other guy.

        Tierney’s history is that each injury lasts quite a long time.

        1. That’s true. 4-6 weeks in the busy part of the season will get anybody asking for a bit of a respite.

  6. If anyone is playing at RCB if we are going to play 3 CBs surely it would be Tomi and not White? Tomi is better defensively in every aspect to White and he’s not very attacking so it’s a perfect fit.

    If everyone is fit then MA needs to bench White in my opinion. I don’t want another ego fueled situation like when Auba continuously got played because of his new contract regardless of form! White is not bad but we probably paid 30 mil to much for him.

    1. That’s the fan feeling too. But Arteta cannot bench a player he himselt bought for 50M. That’s the issue this Saliba saga. The whole world is seeing his level including even Arteta but he’s not going to bench him.

      Besides that Arteta does not rotate players like his counterparts. Benching a player all the time leads toi loss of value by that plater; so the team cannot raise good money from player sales.

      Klopp and Guardiola are experts in rotating their players to maximize player utilization and ensure persistent high level performance.

      1. Wow. I wonder how you rotate your players when you only compete in EPL since January…

        And the notion that Arteta will not bench White because he bought him for 50M is ridiculous. Should we rembember what happened to Auba after he was granted his giant contract by Arteta?

        One thing is for sure, Arteta will play the best players he think he has currently. Whether you agree with his pick is a different story.

  7. I would like to see us take a punt on zagadou. I know he has had his fair share of injuries, however he is an exceptional talent and currently a free agent. If we could keep him healthy, we could afford to let Mari and Holding leave who are not quick enough.

    1. There seems to be a witch hunt against Ben White who is by some way the quickest and most skilful CB we have.Until Saliba actually plays in the EPL fans who consider him to be superior to White may be in for a rude awakening.

  8. In all…I like the fact that the players take every game seriously. This fact is under rated.

    Whether friendly or competitive game , we don’t play and you will get your ass handed to you by this team

    This is a good trait.

    This team is lit 🔥🔥🔥

  9. Saliba – I really like this guy. Very talented, young and its about time Arteta gave him a chance!! 🙂

  10. We could have saved ourselves 50 mil last season or spent it where it was needed, if Saliba was given the chance he obviously deserved.

    1. Saliba didn’t come good until last season. If he would have stayed with us and picked up the odd minute or 2, he wouldn’t be at the level he is today. Hell, even if he played every game with us last season in White’s position, we would have suffered. He wasn’t ready for the EPL last season, he needed one more season of being the main man in defence in a league that is far less punishing than ours to reality get blooded in…and it paid off. I honestly believe we’re going to have one of the best back lines in the league this season, especially when we have our full complement of CBs and FBs available.

      1. You only need to ask yourself why we paid 27m for him as an 18 year old kid if he only came good last season.

        1. Because they saw the potential in him and wanted to get him at a discount price (and yes, I understand 27 mil is a lot, A LOT, for a future investment). But how much would we have had to pay if we were to purchase him this current window after the season he just had at OM? Or next summer? Twice what we paid for him. And should his preseason form carry over into the season and he continues to play at the high level and skill that he’s shown in preseason, I wouldn’t have a problem paying close to 50 mil for him because he’s worth it. So the fact we got him for half that, regardless of the fact we couldn’t play him for 3 seasons, I’m happy we get him for the next season, and hopefully we can tie him down for another 4 years. This, in my opinion, was a gamble that paid off and now we’re going to bank on that “small” investment that took 3 years to come good, cause if/when we sell him, we’ll make twice what we paid, or more if he turns out to be the next VVD, like lots of people keep alluding to. We could get 60-80 from Real or Barca is he continues to get better. If he doesn’t and we don’t even make our money back, won’t be the first mistake we’ve made in the transfer market. But that outcome is hardly even a possibility, let alone a probability. He’s going to be solid in our defense and we’re going to get some ££ when we do end up selling him.

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