Pablo Mari hasn’t taken long to win some fans over in Italy, with an impressive performance and a clean sheet on his Udinese debut.

UDINE, ITALY: Pablo Mari of Udinese Calcio competes for the ball with Antonio Sanabria of Torino FC during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Torino FC at Dacia Arena on February 06, 2022. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini / Getty Images)
UDINE, ITALY: Pablo Mari of Udinese Calcio competes for the ball with Antonio Sanabria of Torino FC during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Torino FC at Dacia Arena on February 06, 2022. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini / Getty Images)

Arsenal loanee Pablo Mari made his first start for Udinese against Torino on Sunday, and he put in a strong defensive display as his side came out 2-0 winners.

The Gunners centre-back made eight clearances and won eight of his 11 individual duels to keep Torino to just a single shot on target.

Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb report that it was “a good first [game] for Pablo Mari, immediately a leader of the defence on his debut in Serie A”.

Mari has spent a couple of weeks with Udinese now, previously making their bench for a match against Genoa, so he’s had a little bit of a time to get up to speed and get settled before his debut.

All the same, the circumstances of that debut weren’t exactly ideal. Mari hadn’t played a minute of competitive football for Arsenal since September 22nd, and even that was against lower-league opposition in the League Cup.

You could have forgiven Mari for being rusty, but it’s good to hear he’s made a positive first impression.

UDINE, ITALY: Pablo Mari of Udinese Calcio competes for the ball with Antonio Sanabria of Torino FC during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Torino FC at Dacia Arena on February 06, 2022. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini / Getty Images)
UDINE, ITALY: Pablo Mari of Udinese Calcio competes for the ball with Antonio Sanabria of Torino FC during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Torino FC at Dacia Arena on February 06, 2022. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini / Getty Images)

In many ways, Serie A does seem like a good league for Mari to settle in, given its reputation for being more tactical with less reliance on raw attributes like pace. That should help cover for one of his weaknesses.

From an Arsenal point of view, it would be great to see Mari holding down a place and getting some good results.

Even if he’s not in the club’s long-term plans, that would boost his value ahead of the summer.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.