French media deliver mixed verdict on Arsenal star William Saliba’s performance vs Netherlands

Arsenal star William Saliba started for France and helped them keep a clean sheet against the Netherlands at Euro 2024.

The two European giants faced each other in a much-anticipated clash at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig. Everyone expected a tight game, but it was disappointing to see it end 0-0.

However, it was still a great watch for the neutral and there were a number of very impressive performances from players on both sides.

France and Arsenal star Saliba had a good game, but he has now received some mixed reviews from his country’s press.

Nobody really expected Saliba to get the nod over Liverpool star Ibrahima Konate in the France squad at the Euros.

However, Didier Deschamps saw the Arsenal star’s quality and decided he was the man.

Saliba earned good reviews from the French media following his performance against Austria in their first game of Euro 2024.

The 23-year-old started for Les Bleus against the Netherlands on Friday night, and we thought he had another really good game.

A couple of media outlets in France agree with us too.

Goal France gave Saliba a 7/10 rating and wrote: “Deschamps prefers him to Konaté and understands why. The former Marseille player has definitely made his mark within this French defence.

“Now, he is as efficient as he is at the club. In this match, he was very reassuring, as convincing in his defensive interventions as through his forward transmissions. We also saw him sign an important rescue on a Dutch counter-attack.”

GFFN were impressed with Saliba too. After giving him a 6/10 rating, they wrote: “A faultless display in the first half on the ball for the Arsenal man, who only lost possession once (less than any other outfield player from both sides).

“His understanding with Upamecano at the back is increasing with every game, and now looks to have comfortably sealed his spot at the back.”

However, two other media outlets found flaws in the Arsenal defender’s performance.

RMC Sport rated him 6/10 and wrote: “Always has the concern not to make’ errors. His investments are good most of the time. His game lacks a bit of initiative or risk-taking but at least it is clean.”

Foot Mercato gave him only a 5.5/10 rating. They said: “In more difficulty than his friend in central defence (Dayot Upamecano), the Gunner seemed to lack his bearings and faltered a little on the Oranje’s long offensive balls.

“Difficulties in the recovery, but nothing serious for the former Marseille man, much better in the second period. A superb comeback in front of Frimpong to note (35th minute), as well as in front of Dumfries (85th minute).”

William Saliba of France applauds the fans after the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Austria and France at Düsseldorf Arena on June 17, 20...
Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images

What Saliba did better than everyone else on the pitch

The negative reviews about Saliba’s performance are a bit too harsh.

The Arsenal star did everything he had to do to preserve his side’s clean sheet, and he was absolutely incredible on the ball too.

Saliba had 91 touches of the ball and completed 85 of his 86 attempted passes, thus keeping a stunning 99 per cent passing accuracy (SofaScore).

He lost possession just once in the entire game – the fewest among any outfield player in the clash between Netherlands and France on Friday night (ESPN).

Saliba deserves a lot of praise for his display, and we’re convinced he will get even better as the tournament progresses.

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