Saliba endures his most difficult night for Nice yet

Robin Bairner
Saliba endures his most difficult night for Nice yet

Arsenal centre-back William Saliba had his most difficult run out since signing on loan for Nice as his side won 3-1 against Rennes on Friday in a Ligue 1 encounter.

Saliba moved back to France after being unable to break into Mikel Arteta’s plans at the Emirates Stadium.

He has played regular first-team football with Nice, and while the team overall has toiled, Saliba’s performances have been at a very commendable level.

Indeed, Football Critic rates his performance typically around the 7 mark. The only significant deviations away from that came in his debut, in which he scored a 6.5 FC Rating in a 2-0 loss at Brest. Even when Nice lost 3-0 to Bordeaux, Saliba still got a 6.6 FC Rating and was his side’s best player.

On Friday, however, he hit a 5.8.

William Saliba v Rennes

STATISTICALEXANDER ISAK
MINUTES90
TACKLES/WON1/1
AERIAL DUELS/WON1/1
DUELS/WON7/4
CLEARANCES5
PASSES/COMPLETE54/46
ERROR LEADING TO GOAL1

The major mark against his name arrived shortly before half-time. With Nice looking comfortable, Saliba played a lazy ball out of defence that was picked up by Martin Terrier and returned with interest into the top corner of the goal.

Saliba was ultimately credited with the error, though given the ease with which Terrier advanced into space and the quality of the shot he executed (it had an xG value of 0.02, according to Understat), this was perhaps a little harsh.

Otherwise, the Arsenal man gave a very solid account of himself. He won the only tackle he attempted as well as the only aerial duel he competed for, while he also came out on top of four of seven ground duels.

Indeed, he was punished for a rare slip. In possession he was secure, posting 85% of passes complete. Only eight passes he made went astray. It just so happens that the one really poor error he made ended up in a goal conceded.

Not too much to panic about, then, for Saliba as Arsenal no doubt keep close tabs on his progress for Nice.