What Arteta had to say about Willian and Gabriel debuts

Arsenal made a near-perfect start to the 2020-21 Premier League season with a commending 3-0 victory away to Fulham on Saturday lunchtime.

Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring from close range on eight minutes before Gabriel Magalhaes headed home a Willian corner just after half-time.

The 32-year-old right winger then provided the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score a fine strike just before the hour.

Mikel Arteta went with Mohamed Eleny alongside Granit Xhaka in the middle of the park as Dani Ceballos only just re-joined on loan from Real Madrid.

In his post-match press conference, the boss was really pleased with the two Brazilian debutants today, saying:

“Yeah, they were both really good. Obviously for Willian it’s a little bit different because he knows the league, the country and he’s very settled here, so I knew his performances would happen straight away. With Gabriel it was a big challenge for him to come in today having not played any football for the last six months and he had a terrific performance.”

As well as providing two assists, Willian was also involved in the opening goal. He was given a breather for the final 15 minutes as he was replaced by Nicolas Pepe.

Gabriel’s Arsenal career could have got off to a nightmare start as miscommunication with Bernd Leno gifted Aboubakar Kamara an early one-on-one, only for the German goalkeeper to bail out the centre-back. After that, Gabriel was solid defensively and composed on the ball.

Matt Macey was named as the backup goalkeeper today as reports suggest Emi Martinez is set to complete a £20 million move to Aston Villa. William Saliba was surprisingly not named in the matchday squad despite David Luiz being out with a neck injury.