View: Arsenal defender William Saliba horribly exposed in Leeds United clash
Arsenal may have beaten Leeds United 1-0 in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, but they were lucky to escape Elland Road with that result.
William Saliba took a clean sheet home with him in the end and has been one of the brightest lights of the Premier League so far this season.
Having said that, one man left him horribly exposed this weekend, and that was Patrick Bamford.
Saliba was bullied and his partner Gabriel could have been sent off if there was another referee in charge of the game after his kick out at the same striker.
The Frenchman was solid enough in the first half without dominating against Rodrigo, but that all changed as soon as the second half kicked off against Bamford.
VAR was left with no choice but to give Leeds a penalty after he clearly handled in the box under pressure from Marc Roca, in a very poor decision.
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After that, Bamford was through on goal clear three times, and it was only down to Aaron Ramsdale as to why the ball didn’t hit the back of the net.
On another day, Saliba could have been sent off himself, pulling the shirt of Bamford before he went through on goal, but the striker stayed up and missed his chance.
Although his stats on paper were solid enough with two tackles, two clearances and 92.1% passing success [WhoScored], that doesn’t tell the whole story.
If Arsenal want to stay top of the Premier League and take home that title, their defence cannot be ripped apart like this again, or someone will take advantage.
Erling Haaland and Manchester City would be as forgiving as Leeds and Bamford were, so this will be taken as a warning by Mikel Arteta to not get carried away.
Saliba has definitely shined this season and is worth every little piece of credit he has received, but now it is time to put his foot on the gas again and get even better, not just stay on the same level.
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