Arsenal’s defense has moved into a new era with the official arrival of William Saliba. Here are the top three possible centerback mates, ranked.
It truly is remarkable what Mikel Arteta was able to do with this defense in very little time. Since taking over at Arsenal, he has turned a bunch of liabilities into a top-five Premier League defense. He’s done it with the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, and Sokratis which, just hearing it again, is positively stunning.
So stunning, in fact, that I think some fans lose track of how good this defense has gotten when they speak about how awful it is. It isn’t awful anymore. Of course, that doesn’t mean it can’t get better and, in the name of the long-term it does need to get better.
Thus, William Saliba. With the premature ending of Ligue 1, Saliba has officially joined up at the Emirates and now it’s time to think ahead. What does this mean for the defense and, most importantly, what does it mean for the defense right this moment?
The biggest question has to be, assuming Saliba is set to start, who starts next to him? Let’s break down the top three options, starting with No. 3.
3. David Luiz
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with David Luiz starting the season as the No. 2 centerback next to William Saliba. There are just three really good options and I see Luiz as the third of those three. The main reasoning being that if we truly want to move into the next era, we have to start trusting some next era guys and that isn’t Luiz.
The Brazilian centerback still has a huge part to play at the Emirates and I look forward to seeing this defense evolve and progress under his leadership, but I can’t help but feel that with Mikel Arteta building this defense in his style, with a focus on playing the ball and athleticism, that we can do better than relying on Luiz too much.
I wouldn’t be upset if Luiz starts next to Saliba, but I’m just excited to get the future underway. That’s all I’m saying. And with it said, let’s pop over to No. 2.