Transfer

Arsenal defenders praised by pundit Garth Crooks

Arsenal’s defence is earning rave reviews after yesterday’s 0-0 draw away to Manchester City in what could prove to be a hugely important game in the context of this season’s Premier League title race.

The Gunners went into the game with a poor record at the Etihad Stadium, where their title challenge fell apart last year with a 4-1 defeat late on in the season.

This time, however, they had William Saliba fully fit, and both he and Gabriel Magalhaes were superb as they limited Man City to very few chances, even if Pep Guardiola’s side enjoyed a lot of the possession throughout the game.

City simply couldn’t break Arsenal down, and pundit Garth Crooks is the latest to give the two defenders huge praise.

William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes were superb for Arsenal against Man City

Crooks named Saliba and Gabriel in his Premier League team of the week, and he analysed both players in his BBC Sport column.

Arsenal defenders earn huge praise

Saliba was missed through injury for some important games last season, and Crooks singled the Frenchman out for the unnoticed work he does in Mikel Arteta’s team.

“Saliba goes through games almost unnoticed until you realise very little has actually got past him. This time last year he got injured and missed the most crucial part of the season and Arsenal paid the price. If the Gunners can keep their players fit they are in with a real chance. It is still all to play for,” Crooks said.

On Gabriel, he added: “Gabriel is a warrior, there is no doubt about that, and he completely outbattled Haaland. Over the years Arsenal have taken away the rough edges associated with Gabriel’s game without losing any of his competitive edge and he is now proving to be a real asset.

“A clean sheet away at the Etihad is telling. If they do go on and lift the title their defensive displays will have an awful lot to do with it.”

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