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What Saliba did in New Club Derby

William Saliba has finally made a competitive first-team appearance this season.

The defender – who joined Arsenal for £27m during the 2019 summer transfer window – was immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 outfit Saint Etienne to continue his development.

Upon returning to the Emirates Stadium a few months ago, Saliba was expected to challenge the likes of David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, and Rob Holding for a place alongside Gabriel Magalhaes.

However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had other ideas and opted against handing the teenager his debut during the first-half of the season.

As a result, Saliba – in the search for regular first-team football – completed a loan move to Nice earlier in the week and went straight into the starting XI for Wednesday evening’s league game away at Brest.

It’s safe to say the first half-hour of the centre-back’s return to Ligue 1 action was somewhat of a nightmare.

Booked after just 11 minutes for a late tackle as overran the ball went attempting to dribble out from the back, his temporary club also found themselves 2-0 down after 28 minutes.

And Saliba was somewhat involved in both goals.

Firstly a tight VAR call went against him as he tried to catch Steven Mounie offside, while a sloppy back pass caught him on his heels and there’s was no time to recover as Franck Honorat doubled the home side’s lead.

It was a quiet second half for Saliba, but Nice couldn’t find a way back into the game as they fell to a 2-0 defeat.

With that said, many Arsenal fans kept an eye on the Ligue 1 clash. Some noticed that Saliba produced a nice piece of skill in the first-half, while others noted his strengths and weaknesses.

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