Saliba reacts to sensational Arsenal debut: “I’ve waited a long time”

Mikel Arteta’s side beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park, with Gabriel Martinelli’s header sending them on their way and Marc Guehi then putting the ball into his own net late on to wrap up victory for the Gunners.

There were debuts for competitive debuts for new signings Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who were both impressive, while Saliba finally got his first-team opportunity three years after joining the club.

The 21-year-old was named Man of the Match after a superb display at the back for Arsenal, admitting he was relieved to impress after waiting so long to get his chance.

“It’s been a long time I’ve waited for this moment, I’m so happy to start my first game with a win and a clean sheet,” Saliba said.

He added: “It’s never easy, you have to give your maximum and it was good.

“It’s the first game, it’s important to win for the confidence and to start the season well.”

There has been plenty of discussion about Arsenal’s decision to loan Saliba out in Ligue 1 in recent season, rather than keeping him at the club, but the Frenchman believes he has benefitted from his time away.

He said: “It helped me because I’m young, I need to play. Now I’m back, I hope we will have a good season.”

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