Smith praises ‘fantastic’ Arsenal defensive duo with Gunners top

Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has praised the ‘fantastic’ defensive pairing of William Saliba and Gabriel for their success this season.

Arsenal sit top of the Premier League with seven games remaining, ahead of rivals Liverpool on goal difference.

Speaking to, Smith believes the duo need to win trophies in order to be spoken about in the same conversation as some of the great title-winning Arsenal defences.

“It’s a fantastic partnership,” he said. “We eulogise about William Saliba because he’s a Rolls-Royce of a player who makes the game look easy.

“But Gabriel has never played better in an Arsenal shirt than at the moment. As a partnership, they’re up there among the best that Arsenal have ever had, but you need to win something to be mentioned in the same breath as Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Steve Bould and Tony Adams.

“They’ve certainly got the ability and they’re part of a team that could achieve amazing things – if they manage to do that then they will be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the greats.

“I’ve said it before, but that partnership has given the team a fantastic base to go on and do what they’ve done.”

The Gunners have been superb defensively this season, with a league low of 24 goals conceded and only four goals let in since the turn of the year. Some have called for the defensive pair to be spoken in similar bracket of Invincibles Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell.

When asked whether Saliba and Gabriel would get in the the Invincibles side, Smith said it is difficult to compare two different eras:

“You can’t answer that really. There’s more of a ball-playing ability there, but then again, the demands of football have changed a little bit.

“They’re both brilliant in possession, but Toure and Campbell were so difficult to get past.”

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