David Luiz was a shock deadline day arrival for Arsenal from rivals Chelsea but already the Brazilian looks like he could be an important player for his new club.
The 32-year-old was an unused substitute for Arsenal’s 1-0 victory against Newcastle United on Sunday having only joined up with his teammates on Friday after his £8m move from Chelsea.
Unai Emery opted to pair Sokratis Papastathopolous and Calum Chambers in the heart of Arsenal’s defence and the pair performed well, helping the side to a rare away clean sheet.
Another player to impress was Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who deputised for the injured Hector Bellerin in the right-back position and provided the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winner.
Maitland-Niles, 21, has endured difficult moments since breaking into the Arsenal side in 2017-18 although he has generally been deployed outside his natural position of central midfield.
Before the game against Newcastle, eagle-eyed Arsenal fans spotted Luiz appearing to give Maitland-Niles a pep talk as the players made their way through the tunnel and onto the pitch.
Clearly, whatever instructions Luiz passed on to Maitland-Niles had the desired effect as the youngster excelled both in defence and attack to help the Gunners to a good victory.
Maitland-Niles won more tackles (four) and completed more dribbles (four) than any other player in the Arsenal side while also getting an assist for Aubameyang with a pinpoint cross.
It was a good day all around for Arsenal academy graduates as both Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock were named in the starting line-up after catching Emery’s eye during pre-season.