Getting your defensive partnership right is vital if you want to have a successful team, while it’s also generally accepted that it’s a bad idea to throw a couple of new signings together.
While William Saliba might not technically be a “new” signing he’s yet to play in a competitive game for the club, while Gabriel arrives after an impressive season with Lille.
It was confirmed in Mikel Arteta’s press conference that David Luis and Sokratis would miss the game through injury, while the manager was also keen to praise his new signing:
Arteta confirms Sokratis and David Luiz will miss the opener against Fulham while also praising Gabriel for his training performances. Is it time for a Gabriel – Saliba partnership to start the season? pic.twitter.com/7OVMyC4uvX
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) September 11, 2020
You have to think that Arsenal’s long term plan will be to have a partnership of Gabriel and Saliba in the centre of defence, so it does make you wonder if Arteta should just bit the bullet and go straight in with that combination?
On paper it looks like the perfect match as they provide natural balance with a left and a right footed player, they are aggressive in the air, good on the ball and have the pace to deal with most threats and play a higher line.
The likes of Pablo Mari, Mustafi and Holding will also be pushing for a start and he could also line up with a back three to ensure the unit is more secure, but the door is open to just jump in and start Gabriel and Saliba.