Tim Sherwood has backed Mikel Arteta's Arsenal to win the Premier League title next season if William Saliba can stay out of the treatment room.
For the third season running, Pep Guardiola's side are champions of England, and whilst they have been outstanding during these past few months, they were helped by Arsenal's end-of-season collapse.
Many reasons are behind the club losing top spot, with William Saliba's injury, suffered back in March, playing a big part and Sherwood stating there 'wasn't a replacement' for the 22-year-old, as he told Premier League Productions (22/05/23 at 5:30 pm).
Then January capture Jakub Kiwior was handed a chance, only for the Polish defender to produce a bizarre moment as Arsenal conceded their opening goal during their defeat to Brighton.
All in all, it's pretty clear that there is a drop-off when Saliba isn't starting, but for Sherwood, if he stays away from the treatment room, then he thinks the Gunners can finally push over the line next season.
"There wasn't a replacement for him," said Sherwood. "I thought Holding, when he came in, he did okay. Carried them through. The attacking players carried them through.
"But, in the end, when it's going against you, then you need to hold on. You need to defend. I don't think they had the solidity that they needed.
"He's only a young man. He was out on loan last season. This is his first season. He will get better. If they keep him fit, all of the season, then they will win the league again or they have a chance of winning the league.
"But, if they lose him, where is the player who can come in? Where is the quality?"
Unai Emery was in the Arsenal dugout when the north London club secured the teenager's signature for PS27 million (Sky Sports) in 2019, but he proceeded to spend several spells out on loan.
But ever since he made his senior debut on the opening day of this season, it could be argued that Saliba is now Arsenal's most important and best defender.