Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s ability to attack in the second half from Crystal Palace to get the Premier League season off to a perfect start with a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park on Friday. On ground where the Gunners lost 3–0 in April to a late-season collapse that cost them a Champions League place, Gabriel Martinelli’s header gave them a deserved half-time lead, after Arteta’s men were out. Went.
A late Marc Guehy’s own goal sealed three points after Odsonne douard and Eberechi Eze missed big chances for Palace.
“Winning is the most important thing. To win the first match it builds confidence, momentum and then we can discuss the things we need to improve,” Arteta said.
“You have to suffer to win here. We’ve done it and it’s part of the mindset we want to build.”
Arsenal were beaten 2–0 at Brentford on the opening night of last year’s season, marking the worst start to the league campaign for 67 years.
But he backed his blistering pre-season form and rewarded the trust placed in Arteta with more than £100 million ($120 million) to spend in the transfer market.
The arrival of Gabriel Jesus to fill the need for a centre-forward has been Arsenal’s marquee signing of the summer and the Brazilian made his debut in style after nearly four minutes.
Jesus slammed through the center of the castle’s defense and when his initial effort was blocked, Martinelli should have bettered the goal’s wide rebound from the slot.
The visitors dominated the opening quarter, but it took a set-piece to achieve success.
Another debutant, Oleksandr Zinchenko, nodded into a corner behind the goal and Martinelli’s header had enough power to beat Vicente Guetta.
Palace faced more problems in the pre-season, with several key players staying at home during their tour of Australia due to their coronavirus vaccination status.
The Eagles took half an hour to find their feet, but would be disappointed not to pick up at least a point once the game got into motion.
Arsenal blamed Mahal’s fans for causing their problems to wake up from their slumber as Aaron Ramsdale’s clearance was charged and fortunately the England goalkeeper rebounded from one of his own defenders.
Ramsdale made amends with a fine stop to refusing to level douard’s header before the break, before the French striker made another attempt over the bar.
Palais wrote back to Arteta’s men in the second period, but again failed to take their chances when they came along.
Eberechi Eze was the most guilty as he shot into Ramsdale’s body only after defeating Arsenal.
“The difference between the two teams is that they score goals,” said Palace boss and former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.
“We created two really good chances to score and we didn’t take our chances.”
Arsenal barely threatened in a counter-attack in the second half, but were lucky to give themselves breathing space for the final five minutes.
Bukayo Saka’s driven cross caught his England teammate Guehi off guard as the Palace centre-back’s header flew into his own net.
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