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Arsenal: Mikel Arteta handed William Saliba boost ahead of West Ham

Arsenal have been handed a potentially huge boost ahead of their upcoming Premier League meeting with West Ham United this evening.

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That’s according to the Evening Standard who claim, despite having only arrived back from international duty with France last Friday, William Saliba could already be set to make a surprise return to the starting lineup against the Hammers at The Emirates this evening – despite earlier claims the defender looked unlikely to feature.

Regarding the potential availability of the France international, Mikel Arteta said:

“Let’s see depending on how he comes back as well. We have the data on what he’s done in training in terms of minutes. He didn’t participate much but it was a huge experience for him. When he gets back we’ll see.”

Huge boost

Considering just how impressive Saliba has been for Arsenal so far this season, should the 21-year-old be deemed fit enough to feature against the Irons this evening, it would undoubtedly come as a huge boost to the Gunners’ chances of picking up all three points against David Moyes‘ men.

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Indeed, over his 14 Premier League appearances in the current campaign, the £61.5m-rated talent has been in sensational form in the heart of Arteta’s backline, helping his side keep six clean sheets, in addition to making an average of 1.6 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, 2.7 clearances and winning 3.4 duels – at a success rate of 63% – per game.

However, it has not only been in defence that the £40k-per-week starlet has impressed, as the Frenchman has also scored two goals, provided one assist and created one big chance, as well as playing an average of 2.6 long balls and completing 61.8 passes – at a success rate of 92% – per match.

These returns have seen the centre-back average an extremely impressive Sofascore match rating of 7.05, seeing him rank as Arteta’s second-best performing defender and eighth-best player overall in the top flight of English football so far in 2022/23.

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As such, with Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson all being ruled out due to injury, in addition to Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu being doubts for the visit of the Hammers, the potential surprise availability of Saliba is undoubtedly fantastic news for Arteta and his side as the Gunners look to maintain their brilliant start to the season tonight.