William Saliba issues verdict on Jakub Kiwior after Arsenal’s draw 2-2 with Sporting

The French defender scored the opener for Arsenal as they came away from Lisbon with a 2-2 draw in the Europa League.

Saliba had some positive words to say about his debut partner Jakub Kiwior after the first leg draw against Sporting.

The Frenchman’s header gave the Gunners the lead in the first half, before Goncalo Inacio equalised for the impressive hosts following a hesitation from goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Paulinho put Sporting ahead in the second half but it was Granit Xhaka’s deflected shot which hit Hidemasa Morita and made sure that the tie is still alive for Mikel Arteta’s side in the second leg.

The Gunners looked defensively suspect at times throughout the game but Saliba praised his defensive partner for coming through a testing debut.

“It’s his first game and he played well,” he told BT Sport.

“For me, as well, I played the first time with him. We did well. Unfortunately, we concede two goals but it’s ok, we played well and that’s good,”

“We’ve done a lot together because in training, we change the pair always. That’s why we played good together. It wasn’t bad to play with him for the first time,” he said.

The 20-year-old defender also shared his thoughts on the result and emphasised the mentality and determination that his side showed once again.

“It’s ok, it’s ok. We wanted to win here but it’s ok, we didn’t lose. We have to be focused on the next game and we are lucky because we play at home and we’ll give everything as always,” he said.

“We know that they can score but we know that we can come back always. We never give up and that’s a good mentality from the team. We will do this every time. It’s always better to lead but when we don’t lead we have to come back.”