Garth Crooks showers praise on William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes following goalless draw against Manchester City

Arsenal became the first team to prevent Manchester City from scoring at home in the Premier League since October 2021, ending their impressive run of 47 games following a resolute goalless draw at Etihad Stadium yesterday.

The hosts attempted 12 shots and played seven corners, but they could only record just a shot on target when Nathan Ake attempted an early close-range header, but it was calmly saved by David Raya.

Arsenal have the best defence in the English top-flight this term having conceded just 24 goals in 29 games, and centre-back duo William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes have constantly played key roles in keeping opponents quiet.

They did so again yesterday, leaving BBC pundit Garth Crooks impressed.

“Saliba goes through games almost unnoticed until you realise very little has actually got past him,” he wrote in his latest Team of the Week column.

“This time last year he got injured and missed the most crucial part of the season and Arsenal paid the price. If the Gunners can keep their players fit they are in with a real chance. It is still all to play for.

“I felt compelled to pick Gabriel, who handled Manchester City’s Erling Haaland brilliantly. They locked horns on a couple of occasions while there was a moment when the camera actually picked up the red-hot level of intensity between the two players.

“Gabriel is a warrior, there is no doubt about that, and he completely outbattled Haaland. Over the years Arsenal have taken away the rough edges associated with Gabriel’s game without losing any of his competitive edge and he is now proving to be a real asset.

“A clean sheet away at the Etihad is telling. If they do go on and lift the title their defensive displays will have an awful lot to do with it.”

Arsenal lost 11 league games out of the 12 they played against Man City since Guardiola’s appointment in 2016 until the start of last season by an aggregate score of 30-6, but they have become a different side defensively and have kept two clean sheets in three appearances against them this season.

They had the chances to win the game but were not clinical enough and will hope they can do enough to overtake league leaders Liverpool before the end of the campaign.

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