The Gunners were on a run of three draws in a row that had seen them cede control in the Premier League title race and it felt like something had to change.
This time around the potential for a galaxy-brain moment befitting of his mentor Pep Guardiola felt like it could be forced by the presence of Rob Holding.
Ultimately though there was no perfect solution. The absence of Saliba has been brutally compounded by the season ending injury that Takehiro Tomiyasu picked up in the same game against Sporting CP. The Japan international might have afforded Arteta the option to move Ben White into central defence, or he could even have filled in there himself.