Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hailed the performance of debutants William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus in the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
While Jesus was the thorn in the side of the Eagles’ defense with a menacing display, particularly in the first half, Saliba put in a commanding defensive show at the other end – having waited three years to make his debut.
Saliba’s dominant show saw the 21-year-old register a team-high seven passes and gain possession seven times, behind only Thomas Partey (eight).
After the match, Arteta discussed the benefits of partnering with Gabriel Magalhaes.
“You need the right balance,” the manager told Sky Sports.
“The physicality in this league is something you can’t lose because if you do that, you’re exposed and you have to be able to deal with certain plays and certain opponents that demand so much. those aspects.
“Those two, for their age, are really well built and give us another advantage, same with Ben [White].
“That’s the resilience we need to win football games and see football games. We had a few moments; you need your goalkeeper because, to be honest, they had the best chance of the game, one-on-one, and Aaron [Ramsdale] did incredibly well.”
While Jesus wasn’t on Arsenal’s scoresheet, his intent was evident from the start as he put Palace’s defense under pressure and made a team-high 21 tackles.
“Fear factor,” said Arteta, describing the striker’s impact. “He’s always on your shoulder, he’s always had the ability, the intuition to get the ball off you and he never stands still.
“He’s always on the move, he’s always ready to act and he’s so sharp. It’s hard for defenders to play against him.”
Apart from Jesus, Arsenal have added Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos, but Arteta – who celebrated his 50th league win as Gunners boss – is still looking for more signings before the transfer window closes on September 1.
“We’ll try,” he said. “There are a few things that we have in mind and if we can get them done that would be great.
“But now we will work with the players we have. We are already in the season and we should focus on the players we have to get the best out of them.”