Deserves a chance? Arsenal loanee's statistics are outstanding this season

William Saliba via Marseille
William Saliba via Marseille

After his latest appearance for Marseille against Lokomotiv Moscow, William Saliba’s stats in possession continue to stand out.

Valentin Rongier Olympique de Marseille - William Saliba Olympique de Marseille - Alvaro Gonzalez Olympique de Marseille FOOTBALL : Olympique de Marseille vs AS Saint Etienne - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - Marseille - 28/08/2021 NorbertScanella/PanoramiC
Valentin Rongier Olympique de Marseille – William Saliba Olympique de Marseille – Alvaro Gonzalez Olympique de Marseille FOOTBALL : Olympique de Marseille vs AS Saint Etienne – Ligue 1 Uber Eats – Marseille – 28/08/2021 NorbertScanella/PanoramiC

William Saliba made the fifth appearance of his loan to Marseille on Thursday night, playing away in the Europa League against Lokomotiv Moscow.

The display was tainted by a disappointing late equaliser for Lokomotiv, with Chelsea loanee Tino Anjorin scoring from distance.

But there wasn’t anything Saliba could do about that, and it was yet another match where his passing stats stood out.

In his five appearances for Marseille, Saliba’s pass accuracy is yet to dip below 90% in a single one, and the average number he completes is 82.

On top of that, he’s completed 14 of 16 attempted long balls (88%). Here’s the game-by-game breakdown:

  • Montpellier (A) – 61/64 passes (95%), 1/1 long balls
  • Bordeaux (H) – 93/97 passes (96%), 5/5 long balls
  • Saint-Etienne (H) – 94/98 passes (96%), 2/2 long balls
  • AS Monaco (A) – 52/57 passes (91%), 2/3 long balls
  • Lokomotiv (A) – 111/114 passes (97%), 4/5 long balls

Crucially, Saliba played a line-breaking pass to set Marseille on the attack for their penalty to open the scoring in Moscow.

At this early stage, Saliba’s 96% pass accuracy and 88% long ball accuracy is even an increase on his pass statistics from last season, which already had him easily in the top 10% of centre-backs across the big-five leagues and in European competition.

Saliba has also completed six out of his seven attempted dribbles across his five appearances.

There’s a long way to go this season, but the early signs are that he’s going to add a lot to Marseille on the ball.

Jorge Sampaoli’s team have only kept one clean sheet so far, so they do need to tighten things up a bit defensively.

But Saliba is continuing to show his strengths in his latest loan so far.