William Saliba put in one of the best debut performances in Premier League history as Arsenal kicked off the new season with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Friday night.
Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring on 20 minutes before Mark Gwehi headed in Bucayo Saka’s cross to seal the three points five minutes from time.
New signings Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus both made their Arsenal debuts after joining from Manchester City in the summer.
But it was Saliba, a £27million addition from Saint-Etienne in 2019, who made the biggest impression.
Until his outing against Crystal Palace, the 21-year-old had not played a single minute for the Gunners and instead spent the last three seasons on loan in his native France.
However, you wouldn’t know it from his mature display against Palace, where he really looked like a new signing.
Positioned in the center alongside Gabriel Magalhães, he was incredibly calm whenever Palace posed a threat – finishing the game with 100% tackles completed, 100% aerial duel success, 94% pass accuracy, seven ball recoveries and six clearances.
He also didn’t commit a single foul, instead making a perfectly clean tackle to deny Wilfried Zaha inside the penalty area in the second half.