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Arsenal have ‘outstanding’ £27m weapon as Gary Neville dishes praise after City draw | Football | Sport

Liverpool piled the pressure on the clash in the early kick-off on Sunday, coming from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Brighton. Goals from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah ensured that the Reds moved to the top of the table after Danny Welbeck’s opener, ensuring that even more was at stake for City and Arsenal.

However, neither side were able to respond at the Etihad. In a chess-like encounter, Pep Guardiola’s side were unable to capitalise on their 72 per cent possession to break down the Arsenal defence, with Erling Haaland failing to make his mark on the contest.

Gunners star Saliba, who joined the club for £27million from Saint-Etienne in 2019, has received the credit for ensuring that the Norway international wasn’t able to influence the play, with the centre-back being awarded Sky Sports’ Player of the Match as a result.

Neville lauded Saliba when explaining the decision to give the Frenchman the award, explaining: “Saliba has been absolutely outstanding, a giant on the pitch.

“A special mention to Gabriel as well, who wasn’t far behind in his performance. But this has answered the question of how much Saliba was missed last season.”

Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard admitted that Saliba was a significant miss during the title run-in last season when he was ruled out with an injury at a decisive stage of the campaign. The playmaker explained: “Any team in the world would miss this guy. You see the quality he has on and off the ball, so I am glad he is fit now. Brilliant player and brilliant performance again today.”

The Gunners duo were not particularly pleased with the performance though, despite how important the point could be in the title race – and ensuring that City did not claim all three and move within touching distance of Liverpool. Asked if they were pleased with the result, Saliba explained: “We cannot be satisfied when we draw, but it’s OK. We learn from some games. When we cannot win, we must not lose. That’s what we did well. So, we leave with one point but we are not satisfied. I think it’s more in our heads because we know they are the best team in the world. We have to be focused all the game. We did well. We didn’t concede. We didn’t score, but we are happy.”

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