Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s ability to pull off a second-half attack from Crystal Palace to make the perfect start to the Premier League season with a 2-0 win over Selhurst Park on Friday. On the ground where the Gunners lost 3-0 in April, causing them to collapse at the end of the season, which cost them a place in the Champions League, Arteta’s men held their ground after Gabriel Martinelli’s header gave them a deserved lead against the rest.
Marc Guehi scored a late own goal and then sealed the three points after Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze missed big chances for Palace.
“The win is the most important thing. To win the first game, it builds confidence and momentum and then we can discuss what we need to improve,” said Arteta.
“To win here you have to suffer. We did it and that’s part of the mentality we want to build.”
Arsenal were beaten 2-0 at Brentford on the opening night of the season last year, leading to their worst start to a league campaign in 67 years.
But they bolstered their blistering pre-season form and rewarded Arteta’s trust with over £100m ($120m) to spend in the transfer market.
The arrival of Gabriel Jesus to fill the need for a striker was Arsenal’s big signing of the summer and the Brazilian almost made his debut in style after just four minutes.
Jesus slalomed through the middle of the palace defenses and when his first attempt was blocked, Martinelli should have done better than blasting the rebound wide of the target.
The visitors were completely dominant in the opening quarter, but it took a set piece to break through.
Another debutant Oleksandr Zinchenko nodded a corner back over the goal and Martinelli’s header had just enough power to beat Vicente Guaita.
Palace had endured a much more problematic pre-season with a number of key players left home on tour of Australia due to their coronavirus vaccination status.
It took the Eagles half an hour to get their bearings, but will be disappointed that they didn’t take at least a point once they were up to the pace of the game.
Arsenal were guilty of causing their own problems by waking the Palace fans out of their slumber when a clearance from Aaron Ramsdale was canceled and luckily for the England goalkeeper bounced back to one of his own defenders.
Ramsdale made up for halftime with a fine stop to deny Edouard’s header before the French striker had another attempt bounced inches over the bar.
Palace wrote Arteta’s men back in the second period, but again failed to capitalize on their chances when they came along.
Eberechi Eze was the most culprit when he tamely shot into Ramsdale’s body with only Arsenal number one to beat.
“The difference between the two teams is that they score the goals,” said Palace boss and former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.
“We created two very good chances to score and we didn’t take our chances.”
Arsenal had barely threatened to counterattack in the second half, but were lucky enough to give themselves breathing room in the last five minutes.
A driven cross from Bukayo Saka caught his English team-mate Guehi by surprise when the Palace centre-back flew into his own net.
(This story was not edited by The Singapore Time staff and was generated automatically Platforms.)
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