Arsenal duo ‘best in Premier League’ as Man City, Man Utd and Newcastle stars overlooked

Arsenal have the best centre-back partnership in the Premier League ahead of Manchester City, United and Newcastle, according to former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol. Mikel Arteta has a hugely solid defensive foundation thanks to the formidable pairing of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba, who have been trusted to start alongside each other more often than not.

Arsenal currently boast the strongest defensive record in the Premier League, conceding just 10 goals in their opening 13 matches. Much of the hard work has been down to Gabriel and Saliba keeping things tight and Arteta will be hoping for their form to continue in order to help Arsenal challenge for their first title in two decades.

Nicol, who was a key member of Liverpool’s successful team in the 1980s, has named the duo as the league’s strongest centre-back pairing and believes they will be crucial to deciding Arsenal’s fate at the end of the season.

“If Arsenal have Saliba and Gabriel playing the way they are for the rest of the season, then absolutely they’ve got a chance,” he told ESPN.

It doesn’t look like anybody’s going to blow anyone away as far as goals, which means it’s maybe going to come down to whose defence is the tightest, and you can’t argue that Saliba and Gabriel have been the best centre-back partnership in the Premier League.”

Gabriel was overlooked by Arteta at the start of the campaign but has since returned to his very best after eliminating any doubts over his form. He was left out of Arsenal’s starting side for their opening three games but the Gunners have conceded just seven times in 10 matches following his return.

Saliba, meanwhile, has been widely hailed as one of the Premier League’s best defenders since becoming a first-team regular at Arsenal last season. Their form took a massive hit when he picked up an injury during the previous campaign, which helped City to leapfrog the north Londoners at the top of the table.


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