Arsenal made a winning start to the season as a goal in each half gave Mikel Arteta’s side a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in the opening game of the Premier League campaign at Selhurst Park Friday.
Gabriel Martinelli came in from close range in the 20th minute after a well-worked corner before a ferocious cross from Bukayo Saka was turned into his own net by Palace defender Marc Guehi in the final minutes to secure a three-point opener at Arsenal as they kept up the momentum of a summer of positivity around the red half of north London.
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“We started very strong… to win here you have to suffer,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “We did it and it’s part of the mentality that we want to build, come to these places and find a way to win,”
Arsenal took on their impressive pre-season form early in the game, pressing well and dominating early in the game. And it was big signing of the summer Gabriel Jesus who was in the thick of the action for Arsenal.
With just five minutes remaining, Jesus brilliantly dribbled past a handful of Palace defenders before his shot was blocked in the path of Martinelli, whose shot was fired wide from the far post with the goal at his mercy.
But Martinelli didn’t wait long to make amends. This time it was set up by Arsenal’s other summer signing from Manchester City, Oleksandr Zinchenko. With a well-worked corner routine, Bukayo Saka’s deep corer from Zinchenko’s header crossed the net, where Martinelli got just enough on his header to beat Vicente Guaita in Palace’s goal.
Palace began to gain a foothold as the first half wore on and it took two impressive defensive contributions from Arsenal to maintain their lead in the interval.
Odsonne Edouard had a clear chance with a header from six yards but Aaron Ramsdale reacted well to dive and parry the ball safely. A few minutes later, it was Granit Xhaka who intervened by stepping up to deflect Edouard’s point-blank shot over the crossbar.
Ramsdale was called into action again at the start of the second half, smartly coming off his line to deny Eberechi Eze after the Palace player was played clean through by Wilfried Zaha at the break.
But while they lacked the explosiveness of their start to the game, Arsenal, helped by a stellar performance on their debut from William Saliba in defence, stabilized to avoid further drama. And when Guehi was caught by Saka’s cross ball five minutes from time, Arsenal could relax knowing they would be the first winners of the 31st Premier League season.
“It was very good because we start with a win and a clean sheet,” said Saliba, who has spent the last two and a half years on loan in France. “It was a difficult game, but we won in the end, so very good. I waited a long time, but we [did it] in my very first match, and I’m so happy.
“We knew it would be a very difficult match, but we were prepared and focused,” he added. “It’s good for confidence, it’s very good and I hope we will continue like this.
“We have to enjoy tonight, but from tomorrow we have to focus on the next game because it’s not over, it’s just the first game.”