With Arsenal heading into what is arguably their biggest game of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign so far this weekend, Mikel Arteta will have undoubtedly been hoping for his first-team stars to continue building their confidence with some eye-catching displays while representing their countries over the international break.
However, one player who has been an extremely impressive component of the Spaniard’s defence this season, William Saliba, endured something of a nightmare for France in their 2-0 defeat to Denmark on Sunday evening – something that will certainly worry the 40-year-old ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon.
Indeed, over the course of his 45 minutes on the pitch, the £53.5m-rated centre-back failed to make a single tackle or interception, as well as failed to impose himself when defending a number of corners in the first half – one of which led to Andreas Skov Olsen’s spectacular edge of the box finish to give the Danes a two-goal lead.
The defender’s lacklustre display not only saw him earn a Sofascore match rating of just 6.3 – the worst of any starter on the night – but led to Didier Deschamps withdrawing the 21-year-old at the interval, with the France manager touching on the reasoning for the Arsenal starlet’s substitution in his post-match press conference.
“It’s a young French side, where the majority of the players don’t have experience at the very highest level. It’s not a question of formations, but when you have four corners and a Danish player is left alone each time, you can play with three, five or twelve at the back, it doesn’t change a thing.”
As such, despite currently ranking as Arsenal’s fifth-best performer in the top flight of English football, Arteta will certainly be concerned about Saliba’s display on Sunday night – as any mistake against Antonio Conte’s free-scoring Spurs side could cost the Gunners big time this weekend.
Indeed, with a defeat seeing Tottenham climb above Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table, the Spaniard will be praying that the £36k-per-week starlet can dramatically improve on his international embarrassment at The Emirates this Saturday.