Arsenal are still on cloud nine after beating Liverpool on Sunday, but there was a moment in the first half where Mikel Arteta was really angry with William Saliba.
The young Frenchman has been a revelation this season. He has taken the standards of defending at Arsenal to a whole new level and has become a fan favourite at the Emirates. However, there’s still a lot he can improve.
Why angry Mikel Arteta screamed at William Saliba during first half of Arsenal vs Liverpool
Arsenal started the game against Liverpool on Sunday in fantastic fashion. Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring after just 58 seconds, and the Gunners were on their way.
However, Liverpool fought back hard and dominated most parts of the half from that point. Arsenal really struggled to get out at times, and some of their decisions felt rushed.
One such moment happened when Saliba was on the ball.
The young defender was under no pressure whatsoever and had Ben White on the right and Gabriel Magalhaes on the left free to receive his pass.
Saliba, however, decided to take a much more difficult option and tried a long ball to Bukayo Saka. That, sadly, didn’t work out and the ball rolled out of play for a throw-in near the corner flag.
Arteta was not happy at all on the touchline. He threw his hands in the air in an angry fashion, shouted at Saliba and gestured for him to keep the ball on the ground. He then turned around and walked away in disappointment.
The Gunners boss’ reaction can be seen in a Bench Cam video on Arsenal’s official YouTube channel at the 2:10 mark.
If you’re having a conversation about the best central defenders in the Premier League this season, you’ve got to talk about Saliba.
The 21-year-old’s Arsenal career has been in the balance since Arteta decided he was not ready for the Premier League back in 2020. He had to go out on loan on two different occasions – first to Nice and then to Marseille.
Saliba was absolutely exceptional in both of his spells away from Arsenal, and since his return, he has been better than ever before. He has clearly been Arsenal’s best defender, and he’s now very likely to be called up to the France national squad for the World Cup next month.
Arsenal take on Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday and Saliba is expected to get a breather. However, he should be back in the squad when the Gunners go to Leeds on Sunday.