William Saliba made his loan debut for OGC Nice on Wednesday night, putting in a solid performance in a poor team display.
After waiting so long to see him in action with Arsenal, fans were excited to see William Saliba thrown straight in with OGC Nice away to Stade Brestois 29 on Wednesday. The centre-back started in the middle of a back three for his loan team.
Unfortunately, Nice struggled, particularly in the first half. Their goalkeeper Walter Benitez was shaky from the off, spilling multiple saves, one of which was turned in on the rebound by Steve Mounie.
Brest then made it 2-0 when Nice left-wing-back Jordan Lotomba played his opponent in on goal with a poor backpass. There was little Saliba could do about either of the goals.
L’Equipe rated Saliba higher than any other player on the Nice team for his performance, and manager Adrian Ursea was happy with the player’s start, despite the result.
“When you have a young player of his age who has just arrived into a new squad and who shows such personality in the middle of a defense that he has known for one day, I think it’s very encouraging for what is to come,” Ursea said.
In terms of the stats, Saliba made two clearances, one interception, and three tackles without being dribbled past once. He won four of his five duels and completed six of seven long balls, with a 91% pass accuracy overall.
Those are very promising numbers, especially for a first game in senior football after so many months. One thing is for sure, Nice need Saliba, and hopefully, he’ll help them get back on track.