William Saliba was delighted to make a successful return to Premier League action in Arsenal’s win over Nottingham Forest.
The France defender missed the closing weeks of last season with a back injury and his absence was felt as Arsenal slipped from the top of the table to finish five points behind champions Manchester City.
Up until his injury, the Gunners had been settled at the summit and Saliba had formed a formidable defensive partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes.
Saliba returned to the team for the 2-1 win over Forest, providing the assist for Bukayo Saka’s stunning strike after Eddie Nketiah’s deflected effort had broken the deadlock.
“I’m really, really happy,” he said of his competitive return.
“I’m not 100 per cent at the moment, but I give everything to come back, because it’s been a long time. I didn’t play as I was injured, and I’m so happy to be with the team. The team and the staff helped me to get better and get back to my best.
“It’s always better (to play at home). You don’t feel pressure, you don’t feel any pain, it’s good.”
Arsenal had looked in control against the visitors until substitute Taiwo Awoniyi pulled a goal back with eight minutes remaining to give the visitors hope of wrestling back an unlikely point.
Ultimately, the hosts hung on and Saliba was pleased to start the campaign with a victory.
“It was really good to start the season with a win,” he added.
“It’s never easy to win the first game in the league, and we have done a good game. Unfortunately, we conceded a goal in the last 10 minutes, but it’s okay, we learn and will improve for the next game.”
Forest are aiming to add to their squad before the transfer deadline, having handed debuts to Ola Aina, Anthony Elanga and Matt Turner. The latter was pleased to make his bow against Arsenal, whom he left for the City Ground earlier last week.
“Debut and Prem debut. A dream was finally realised yesterday,” he said on Instagram.
“Thank you to the Forest fans who made the trip! See you at the City Ground on Friday.
“Also just wanted to say thanks for the warm welcome back to the Emirates, it was truly a special day for me and my family.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub