Garth Crooks showers praise on Arsenal centre-back William Saliba for his performance against Everton

Garth Crooks has praised Arsenal centre-back William Saliba for his performance against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, singling out the France international for being so comfortable under pressure.

The Gunners secured a 1-0 win against the Toffees after Leandro Trossard put them ahead in the 69th minute, and while the hosts threw everything they could at the visitors’ defence, Saliba and his defensive partners held out for a win.

The Frenchman was brilliant all day, and Crooks does not think he has seen a better Arsenal centre-back than the 22-year-old in a long time.

“There was a moment during the first half at Goodison Park on Sunday when Beto tried to run William Saliba down his left-hand side in order to get a strike in on goal,” he wrote in his BBC Team of the Week column.

“Well, the Everton striker should never have bothered.

“Saliba ran Beto and the ball out of play with such ease that it was like taking candy from a baby.

“It has been a long time since I’ve seen an Arsenal centre-back look so comfortable under pressure.

“Saliba is also clever enough to know when to pull out of tackles he cannot possibly win cleanly in the penalty area.”

Everton wanted a penalty after Abdoulaye Doucoure went down in the box following a challenge from Saliba, but replays showed that the Arsenal star did not make enough contact and had only brilliantly stopped the midfielder in his tracks.

It would have easily been a foul and a penalty had it been another centre-back that put in such a challenge, and the Gunners should be grateful for such a top player.

Manager Mikel Arteta will now hope Saliba can stay fit all season after the injury he sustained towards the end of last term derailed their title challenge.

Arsenal lost three and drew three of their last 11 league games largely due to his absence, and they need him available for all their games this term if they want to win the Premier League.

They return to league action against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday after playing PSV Eindhoven in their Champions League group stage opener on Wednesday, and Saliba will be looking forward to impressing in both games.

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