Mikel Arteta left William Saliba out of Arsenal’s win over Fulham on Saturday because he needs time to adapt to the Premier League.
Arsenal beat Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage in the first fixture of the new campaign, with strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on target for the Gunners.
New defensive signing Gabriel Magalhaes from French side Lille made his debut, and also found the back of the net for Arsenal.
But there was no first start for Saliba, who signed for Arsenal from Saint Etienne last summer before returning on loan to the Ligue 1 outfit for the season.
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Explaining why the Frenchman was left out entirely, Arteta said: “I think it’s going to take him [Saliba] some time to adapt to our way of playing but as well to get adapted to the language, the rhythm, the physicality of the country.
“As well we have to bear in mind that he didn’t play much football last season with all the injuries he had.
“So, I think it will be a process that we have to be patient, picking the right games with the right environment and trying to grow because he [Saliba] has a really good potential.
“Everyone was saying that we had too many central defenders and it’s a funny case right now that it’s the position we are short at the moment with all the injuries.
“But I’m hopeful in the next few weeks that situation will resolve and we’ll be in a stronger position.”
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