Mikel Arteta has led Arsenal to the summit of the Premier League table while also securing Europa League progression in what has been an excellent first half of the season for the North London side.
The World Cup break means the league season won’t resume until Boxing Day and this can give the Spaniard time to assess what areas of his side he needs to strengthen during the January transfer window.
Can Arsenal win the Premier League?
One thing is for certain, the defence won’t need to be bolstered, with the club conceding just 11 league goals all season, joint lowest with Newcastle United and this will play a big part in whether they end the season as champions.
Ben White has often been used as a right back this season due to injuries, however, it may be at the heart of defence alongside William Saliba where the Frenchman really excels in the future.
Pete O’Rourke gave his thoughts to Football FanCast, discussing the long-term plan that Arteta will put in place:
“So, I think long-term plans still will be for Ben White to play centre half and I’m sure an exciting partnership with him and William Saliba, who are both young and full of potential and they could be a great partnership in the making for years to come.”
The £120k-per-week defender has impressed when deployed at right back this season, starting every one of Arsenal’s league matches while averaging a SofaScore rating of 7.04/10 in the process.
The 25-year-old ranks third in the squad for clearances per match (1.8), second for tackles per match (2.0) and fifth for pass success rate (86%), proving he is an integral part of the starting XI.
His main strength is in the heart of the defence, however, and going forward, he should replace Gabriel Magalhaes and form the partnership alongside Saliba.
The Brazilian has been excellent, receiving a rating of 7.14/10 via SofaScore for his performances this season, however, White’s versatility could potentially make him a more viable long-term partner for the Frenchman and this could become Arteta’s defensive duo for the next few years, especially according to O’Rourke.