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'We need everyone but he is really important'

Gabriel and William Saliba
[Getty Images]

Mikel Arteta says the defensive partnership of Gabriel and William Saliba "just flows" and is one of the reasons Arsenal continue to challenge in the Premier and Champions League.

"You can see a balance and they complement each other," said the Gunners boss.

"They are so happy to play with each other. It just flows. They have been really, really good."

In last season's title challenge Saliba was ruled out for the remainder of the season following their second leg Europa League last-16 defeat by Sporting Lisbon.

Many put Arsenal's defensive collapse down to the Frenchman's absence, while Takehiro Tomiyasu was also out.

"I didn’t know about that narrative," added Arteta. "But Saliba is a massive player for us and you see the impact he has on the team.

"We need everyone but he is really important."