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Just In: William Saliba reveals Arsenal failed with loan recall last season

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William Saliba has revealed that Arsenal failed with an attempt to recall him from his loan at Saint-Etienne last season.

The 19-year-old was signed in a £27 million deal from Saint-Etienne in July 2019 but remained with the French club for the following season.

However, the defender has revealed that Arsenal were keen to speed to his integration by bringing him to the Premier League six months early. Saliba remained in Ligue but was unable to make a breakthrough at Arsenal and the centre-back has now joined Nice for the remainder of the campaign.

‘They [Arsenal] wanted me to come back in January [last year], I didn’t, I stayed in St Etienne,’ Saliba told L’Equipe, via Get French Football. ‘After that, the fans were really looking forward to my arrival, I certainly didn’t imagine that it would happen like this. Aside from that, it is football, I have learned that nothing is certain, you can be there, in your game, and then things can go south. I took a lot of experience from it, at least I will be ready for the future.’

Saliba in his debut with the Un23

Asked why his move to Arsenal has failed to work out, Saliba said: ‘There were a lot of factors I think because when they were finishing their league season, I was in quarantine at home, where I could only run one kilometre in my house. ‘And then there was this thing about the [Coupe de France] final, we didn’t know if I was going to be able to play or not. ‘What I mean is as soon as my contract finished here [at St Etienne], I wasn’t able to train until an agreement was found. That was for two weeks, I was not training, and the others had already started training again [at St Etienne]. ‘After that, then I went over there at the end of July, they had one more week, so I was training all alone. ‘They came back from holidays two weeks later and I was still training by myself. When they came back I played in two friendlies, but I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t played for six months. ‘I had no preparation and to pick up rhythm, you need to play matches. The coach told me I wasn’t ready, I thought, ‘that’s normal, these were just two matches and I hadn’t played for six months’. ‘After that I waited for my chance, I waited for him to play me more to get a rhythm. But that’s football, it’s like that, it’s behind me and I took the experience. ‘At a big club like that, with very good players and coach, you learn a lot, because at training, there is very big intensity, you see how the players do things, there are great players who have won titles and been at the World Cup, so you are inspired by them, you see a bit what the highest level is like, even though I haven’t played. ‘It would have been better if I had played, but I have still learned a bit.’

 

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English FA explains why Arsenal were denied penalty against Burnley

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The Premier League has claimed that Arsenal were denied a penalty against Burnley because Erik Pieters was in ‘close proximity’ to Nicolas Pepe.

The Gunners were forced to settle for a point at Turf Moor after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early opener was cancelled out by Chris Wood, who benefitted from a huge mistake by Granit Xhaka.

However, Arsenal felt aggrieved in the 75th minute when Pepe’s touch inside Burnley’s box led the ball to hit Pieters’ outstretched arm, but Mikel Arteta’s side were not awarded a penalty following a VAR review.

Earlier this week, Fulham were involved in a similar incident as Mario Lemina was penalised for handball in the build-up to their disallowed goal against Tottenham.

But in a statement after the game, the Premier League clarified why Arsenal were not given the decision.

‘The ball has hit him from close proximity and he’s had no time to react,’ said the statement. ‘It wasn’t given on-field and the VAR didn’t think it was a clear error.’

 

Arteta, meanwhile, was left in no doubt that his side should have been awarded a penalty. ‘Absolutely,’ the Arsenal manager said after the game.

 ‘I think it is obvious and clear. I think there is no debate about that. ‘If that’s not a penalty, then someone will explain what a penalty is in this league.’

 

 

 

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Just In: Xhaka apologizes to Arsenal Fans for his costly mistake against Burnley

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Granit Xhaka is full of remorse for his horrendous display that led to Burnley goal, that cost Arsenal 2 points today.

He has come to apologize to Arsenal fans via his Official Facebook  Page:

It’s class from him.

 

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Match Facts: Burnley 1 vs 1 Arsenal

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Granit Xhaka gifted Burnley an equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal, in a match which also saw Erik Pieters’ red card and an Arsenal penalty overturned by VAR.

 

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang put Arsenal in control with an early finish that snuck through the grasp of Nick Pope (6). However, with Arsenal cruising and Burnley struggling, Xhaka inexplicably decided to play a pass across his own six-yard box which deflected off Chris Wood’s hip and into the unguarded net (39).

The game seemed to be meandering towards an uneventful conclusion but then sparked into life in the final 10 minutes.

 

Arsenal felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Pieters looked to have handled in the area but VAR did not deem it a clear and obvious error. Pieters – in the thick of the action – was then dismissed by referee Andre Marriner and a penalty was awarded when the defender deflected a Nicolas Pepe effort onto the crossbar. However, VAR showed that the block had come off his shoulder and Burnley had a reprieve.

Arsenal still managed to create one last chance in injury-time but Dani Ceballos curled an effort off the foot of the post as Burnley managed to hold on.

Player Ratings

Burnley: Pope (6), Lowton (6), Tarkowski (7), Mee (7), Taylor (6), Brownhill (6), Westwood (6), Gudmundsson (6), McNeil (5), Vydra (7), Wood (6)

 

Subs: Pieters (7), Brady (6), Rodriguez (6)

 

Arsenal: Leno (7), Chambers (6), Tierney (7), Luiz (7), Mari (7), Xhaka (4), Partey (6), Saka (7), Odegaard (6), Willian (6), Aubameyang (7)

 

Subs: Pepe (7), Lacazette (6), Ceballos (6)

 

Man of the match: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

 

Opta stats

  • Burnley have enjoyed just one win in their last 10 games in all competitions (D5 L4), after winning three in a row directly before that.
  • Arsenal have kept only one clean sheet in their last 11 games in all competitions (0-0 v Man Utd in January), after keeping five in a row directly before that.
  • Willian has provided an assist in each of his last three games for Arsenal in all competitions (3 in total), as many as he registered in his previous 25 for the club, while he is the Gunners’ top assister in the Premier League this season (5).
  • Only Cesc Fabregas (18y & 236d) reached 50 Premier League appearances for Arsenal at a younger age than Bukayo Saka (19y & 182d), who played his 50th game today.
  • Pope played his 100th Premier League game for Burnley, the 11th player to hit that milestone for the club.
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