William Saliba oozed class in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Fulham on Saturday and one particular moment involving Aleksandar Mitrovic had supporters on their feet.
Fulham forward Mitrovic was perhaps his toughest test so far, with the Serbia international managing to open the scoring after dispossessing centre back partner Gabriel in the Arsenal penalty area.
Mitrovic knew if he put Arsenal’s backline under pressure he could nick the ball from them. Well, that’s half true.
A weak backpass in the 72nd minute saw Mitrovic charging towards the ball, but Saliba beat his opponent with some lovely footwork.
The 21-year-old dribbled out from the back and pinged a lovely ball over to Bukayo Saka out wide.
With every passing game, Saliba is establishing himself as one of the world’s best up-and-coming defenders.
Arsenal’s 100 per cent record was under threat against Fulham after Mitrovic’s goal in the 56th minute.
Martin Odegaard equalised just after the hour mark and it was Gabriel, who made the mistake for Fulham’s goal, who popped up with the winner four minutes from time.
Gabriel celebrates scoring the winner with Saliba and Granit Xhaka. (Image Credit: Alamy)Mikel Arteta’s side are the only team to have won all their games so far this campaign and he was delighted with how they battled back.
“I’m even happier than last week, I think the performance was top,” he told the club’s official website. “I think from the start to finish we went for it, we had periods where we had complete control and dominance of the game and created many chances, many shots and many arrivals in the final third, but it wasn’t happening.
“It was just a matter of time and being patient and not making a mistake.
Arteta at the final whistle. (Image Credit: Alamy)”We did make a mistake, but then the best thing I think is the way the team reacted and Gabi reacted against adversity to overcome the situation.
“Obviously, when you have the character and support that we have in the stadium, that’s easy to do.”
Arsenal return to action on Wednesday against Aston Villa, before travelling to Old Trafford to face top four rivals Manchester United next Sunday.