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Football | Friday, March 1, 2024 9:01 AM (Revised at: Friday, March 1, 2024 9:02 AM)

Silvestre explains how Saliba-Gabriel can cement themselves as the PL’s best CB partnership

Silvestre explains how Saliba-Gabriel can cement themselves as the PL’s best CB partnership
IMAGO / Sportimage - Gabriel of Arsenal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners continue to gun down opposition in the Premier League and they’ll be looking to overcome the Blades at Bramall Lane on Monday. Mikel Arteta’s men are on a tear, scoring 25 goals in their last six Premier League matches.

Devang Prasad sat down with former Arsenal and Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre who spoke about their attacking, as well as defensive form. The former French international also pointed out the importance of Jorginho in this fluid attacking Arsenal that we’ve been seeing in recent gameweeks.

In this article:

Arsenal answering goal-scoring criticism in style

Mikel Arteta’s men were criticised for most of the first half of the season for not creating enough in front of goal. They’ve answered that criticism in fine fashion, scoring at least two goals in all of their Premier League games in 2024.

Silvestre also thinks the same and points out the variety of goalscorers that the Gunners have in their ranks. He does, however, say that Arsenal will have to replicate that attacking form in the Champions League as well.

“There was a question mark at some point about Arsenal in front of goal. Especially during Christmas.”

“Right now it’s a feast of goals in the league. Not in the Champions League but in the league there’s been a big change.”

“A lot of different goalscorers and they’re having fun. They’re creating a lot of chances game after game. It doesn’t matter who they play against.”

“A lot of variety in the attack. It’s very exciting and they’re not predictable. It’s much better.”

The five-time Premier League winner also commended Arsenal’s ability to convert from set-pieces, pointing to the physicality available in the squad as well as the dead-ball abilities of players.

“Arsenal have got physicality in the team with Saliba, Gabriel, Rice and White.”

“They’ve got good delivery from set pieces. That needs to be good. You need the movement and determination and they’ve got all of those at the moment.”

“Set pieces are a big element of the game now so I’ve been impressed with them.”

Winning the league will cement Saliba and Gabriel as the best CB partnership

Arsenal have conceded the least amount of goals in the Premier League so far and the defensive partnership of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes has earned plaudits for the same, with some fans calling them the best CB duo in the league.

While Silvestre agrees that the pair form a quality partnership, he believes that winning the league will cement their status as the Premier League’s best defensive partnership.

“It’s a strong partnership and they’re up there with the best. Arsenal are near the top of the table with City and Liverpool.”

“They’ve been developing the partnership for two seasons and they’re strong. They have an understanding so they’re very good.”

“Time will tell if they’re the best. If Arsenal win the league then they can say they are. There will be moments when they get tested and last season they collapsed so it’s too early to say.”

Silvestre was hard-pressed to find any faults in their play, saying there’s very little where they have to improve.

“There’s not much to improve on for them both.”

“I think they’re good in most departments. I can’t think of any holes in their game right now.”

Jorginho is an excellent option when Arsenal dominate the ball

Thomas Partey has struggled with his fitness this season and Arteta has therefore, experimented with different midfield combinations. Jorginho starting alongside Declan Rice and Martin Ødegaard has been fruitful for the Gunners with the Italian putting in a string of dominant performances.

In Silvestre’s opinion, Jorginho should continue to start, especially in games where Arsenal are dominating possession. He does however elucidate that Jorginho and Partey have different styles and are useful in different game states.

“I think they are different players. When you have to face a quick midfield with power maybe if you want to be defensively stronger you would have Thomas Partey.”

“At home when you’re dominating the ball, Jorginho is an excellent option and he’s back to the Jorginho we saw at Chelsea.”

“Dominating the ball, dictating the tempo. He’s such a good reader and passer of the ball so it’s a good moment for him to show his worth and get Arsenal over the finish line.”

“He’s got all the attributes and momentum to prove it was a good move from Chelsea.”

Evident that Kai Havertz is more confident now

Another former Chelsea signing who didn’t take immediately to water at Arsenal is Kai Havertz. The German, however, has also been putting up impressive performances in 2024 and Silvestre attributes that to his growing confidence.

The Frenchman explains how Havertz was struggling with the simplest of passes when he started but has now become a potent threat in the box.

“Yeah he’s very clever in his movements so it just took him a bit of time to adjust and find the link up with his team mates.”

“And it took a few months to get to the player he was but he’s doing well and he’s finally scoring. Having an impact on the game and he’s more decisive.”

“Before he was working for the team but he couldn’t get in the right area or the finish needed. He had a lack of confidence.”

“Even the simple chances he would miss. Now it’s a different scenario for him and it’s good because he’s fitting in the position as a false nine where he drifts into areas.”

“But when he needs to be in the penalty area to finish he will be there so it’s a good moment for him.”


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