William Saliba in exclusive nine-man Premier League club with Andre Onana

William Saliba and Andre Onana
William Saliba and Andre Onana

William Saliba is one of only nine Premier League footballers to have played every minute this season…


William Saliba (Arsenal)
Started and finished every Premier League game. Was at least given a half-hour rest in the Champions League v PSV but otherwise, the imperious Frenchman has been ever-present when it’s mattered. He must be ever-so-slightly relieved that the Gunners were all manner of bumwash in the domestic cups.

Even Declan Rice got a little rest v Luton, but Saliba is never afforded that luxury; that’s his punishment for forcing Mikel Arteta to use Rob Holding last season.

And this has reminded us that Arteta thought he could start the season without Gabriel. The big dafty.

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Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace)
Whether he has one or two friends in Palace’s central defence, Andersen is the constant. He has been joined by Marc Guehi (22), Chris Richards (11), Joel Ward (8), Nathaniel Clyne (4) and Jefferson Lerma (3), but astonishingly never Rob Holding, which is all manner of damning.

“I could see it from the first day that he is a fantastic player,” said Palace manager Oliver Glasner Glasner of the Denmark international.

“It’s also difficult for him sometimes, because it was the first time [Nathaniel] Clyney played right of him and then, left, it was Marc Guehi for a long time of the season, then it was Chris Richards, now it’s Jefferson Lerma, but Jeff Lerma will be out, so we have to find another player to play there.”

The challenge will be for Palace to keep Andersen beyond this summer when Newcastle United in particular are expected to be among several suitors.


James Tarkowski and Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Everton have conceded fewer goals than any other team outside the top three. Dyche that.

Much of that defensive success can be attributed to Pickford and Tarkowski, who Sean Dyche was very lucky (and presumably ecstatic) to inherit when he took over the Toffees.

The pair admit they often fall out, with Tarkowski taking some time to get used to Pickford’s vocal style: “When I first started playing in front of him, realising how much information he needs to get across – every four seconds – it was difficult to take on board. But we’ve played a fair few games together now so we’ve learned to communicate well.”

Jarrad Branthwaite has been the third point of that triangle for all but three Premier League games this season. Manchester United will likely pay a fortune for him this summer.

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Bernd Leno (Fulham)
Really not the best of seasons from the German but Marco Silva clearly deems him undroppable. So much so that we genuinely had to check that Marek Rodak is still the back-up goalkeeper.


Thomas Kaminski (Luton Town)
Tim Krul and James Shea, apparently. Who knew?


Andre Onana (Manchester United)
As we have said elsewhere, there is a narrative that Onana has been a disaster at Manchester United. While that’s certainly true in the Champions League, he has been – apart from some set-piece punching in the head – pretty exemplary in the Premier League, where he has a save percentage second only to West Ham’s Alphonse Areola. Only the man above him in this list has been forced into more saves.

His importance is such that United rushed him to and from the African Nations so they did not have to play a single Premier League game without him.


Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham)
There have been a few question marks of late about his level of command in his penalty area, but as a shot-stopper he has rarely made an error since joining Tottenham for a bargain price in the summer. His save percentage is higher than Golden Glove winner David Raya for starters.


Max Kilman (Wolves)
“He’s always available. He happily plays on the right even though he probably would be more comfortable on the left. He puts himself out there all the time,” said Wolves manager Gary O’Neil when discussing captain Kilman in February.

Like Andersen at Palace, Kilman has had to be versatile, playing with one or two centre-halves, with Nelson Semedo the latest to try his hand in that position. In a Wolves season absolutely ravaged by injuries, Kilman is the constant.