William Saliba produced one of the best debut performances in Premier League history as Arsenal started the new campaign with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Friday night.
Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring 20 minutes in, before Marc Guehi headed home Bukayo Saka’s driven cross to seal the three points five minutes from time.
New signings Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus both made their Arsenal debuts after joining from Manchester City in the summer.
But it was Saliba, a £27 million addition from Saint-Etienne in 2019, who made the biggest impression.
Until his outing against Crystal Palace, the 21-year-old had never played a single minute for the Gunners and instead spent the last three seasons on loan back in his native France.
Yet you wouldn’t have known it going off his mature display against Palace, where he genuinely looked like a new signing.
Slotting in at centre-back alongside Gabriel Magalhães, he was unbelievably composed whenever Palace posed a threat – finishing the game with 100% take ons completed, 100% aerial duel success, 94% pass accuracy, seven ball recoveries and six clearances.
He also didn’t commit a single foul, instead producing a perfectly clean tackle to thwart Wilfried Zaha inside the penalty area in the second half.