Still no Saliba
Arteta has revealed his line-up ahead of Arsenal’s clash against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup this evening and William Saliba has been selected on the Gunners’ bench.
📋 Tonight’s team news is in…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 23, 2020
Many were expecting to see the young Frenchman feature in a competition known for its rotation amongst larger sides.
Rob Holding, David Luiz and Sead Kolasinac make up the typical Arteta back three. Holding has played every game for Arsenal so far this seaosn and looked solid. David Luiz returns after his small cameo against West Ham, having missed the opening match of the season at Fulham due to a neck injury.
Kolasinac’s inclusion will worry some as the Bosnian international had a difficult display at home to West Ham. The full-back turned left centre-half failed to stop a Jared Bowen cross which led to the Hammers’ equaliser.
With Arsenal bringing in the Brazilian Gabriel Magalhaes, there was hope for a long-term partnership between the two former Ligue 1 talents. With Gabriel just 22 and Saliba 19, the prospect of both being a consistent mainstay for Arteta’s side seemed, on the surface, a possibility.
Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes of Losc Lille during the during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Valencia CF and Losc Lille at Estadio de Mestalla on November 5, 2019 in Valencia, Spain (Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The reality is that Saliba is without match practice. He has so far featured for the under-23s in a 2-2 draw against Brighton and in preseason. Prior to this, the Frenchman had not played since the Ligue 1 season close back in March. There has been an emphasis on easing Saliba in and not rushing a player who is yet to turn 20.
Knowing the fragility of the Arsenal backline, throwing Saliba in at the deep end could be catastrophic for the talent’s confidence. Especially if a high-profile mistake was made early on. This, along with his lack of minutes over the last several months, may explain why the youngster has once again missed out on a starting spot.
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