Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit has praised William Saliba’s performance against Liverpool though felt he could have done more to manage a ‘nervous’ through the match.
The Gunners reclaimed top spot in the Premier League table with a 3-2 victory at the Emirates on Sunday, with the home side’s back-line doing well to largely contain an attack that has been rampant against them in recent years.
However, Gabriel – who gave away a penalty in the north derby last week – once again had a difficult match and was particularly at fault for ’s first-half goal.
Petit was full of praise for the rest of Arsenal’s defence and felt they really stepped up against Liverpool, though he believes the next stage in Saliba’s development will be to marshal his team-mates better – particularly when they’re having an off day like Gabriel was.
‘I thought Gabriel looked nervous and if I was Sailba, I’d have talked to him straight away and told him not to touch the ball, let it bounce and let our players come back in defence,’ Petit told .
‘If you have a 50/50 percent chance of getting the ball you’re at risk of it being played in a dangerous area and he allowed this to happen yesterday.
‘He was late with Darwin Nunez to fight for the ball when he scored his equaliser too. His positioning wasn’t perfect and he showed he was nervous when he was fighting with players on the pitch – like he did with Jordan Henderson.
‘It showed he’s not 100 percent confident. Ben White and Saliba have been terrific but Gabriel is not 100 percent confident in his head.’
Arsenal’s win saw them leapfrog Manchester City once again in the Premier League table, leading by a single point, though Petit feels the reigning champions – who are still undefeated this season – are simply too strong.
He continued: ‘Arsenal have started very well but there’s still a big gap between them and Man City for them to win the title.
‘They showed last week against Spurs that they’ve improved so much and the fact they’re scoring goals so early shows their mentality and their motivation.
‘It doesn’t matter which team they play against, they still show the same identity and personality. It was a great game against Liverpool as they had to score again and again and again.
‘We all knew Liverpool were an injured beast, but they showed at least they’re still a big team and have a big players. I felt it should have been a draw.’
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