The perfect way to open the new season. Two goals, none conceded and away from home. We probably should have scored earlier than we did through Gabriel Martinelli but he dragged his shot just wide of the post. When our opener came along, it was a corner. Fired in deep, Oleksandr Zinchenko headed the ball across the box and Martinelli headed home. Later in the second half, any nerves floating around were settled when Bukayo Saka’s cross/shot was headed in by Marc Guehi. 2-0 and that’s how it remained.
The game had everything. Moments of good football by both teams, bookings for Granit Xhaka for diving, Ben White for one too many strong challenges on Zaha but when it came to the Palace players diving and making borderline strong tackles, Taylor turned a blind eye. I bet he felt utterly disappointed, not being able to award Patrick Vieira’s team a penalty.
I thought we did alright. Could have been more clinical in front of goal and Aaron Ramsdale could have been more decisive with the ball at his feet but he made a few really good saves. Considering what happened in this fixture just a few months ago and the fact that it was the first game of the season, it’s hard not to be happy.
I’m glad we’ve got that game out the way, that’s for sure because I think Crystal Palace are going to cause a lot of teams problems this season. Their long ball will catch defences out, their power and aggression will bully clubs into submission but last night, Arsenal stood strong.
William Saliba was superb I thought, My choice for player of the match. Speaking after the game, he said:
It was very good because we start with a win and a clean sheet. It was a tough game, but we won at the end, so very good. I’ve waited a long time, but we (did it) in my first ever game, and I am so happy. It’s very good when you start to have your first (chance) in this amazing club. So I am so happy, and hungry for more.
Gabriel Martinelli, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus also played very well, in fact everyone did their job well barring Martin Odegaard who I thought struggled a bit, especially when it came to his final decision making. There was an occasion or two when he really needed to put his boot through the ball and shoot rather than look for the extra pass.
The drop in tempo was a concern because it allowed Palace into the game as we struggled to go up a notch again, something we found tough last season too. Obviously players are going to tire quicker at the beginning of the season as their fitness levels aren’t at their peak, so I was surprised to see Mikel Arteta make changes as late as he did. Hopefully that’ll change once ESR, Vieira and Tomiyasu are fully fit again. Plus, there’s still expectation that another player or two will be signed.
The away fans were fantastic I thought and I did smile when they started signing Patrick Vieira’s song towards the end of the game. The Palace fans were classless though if the reason for booing Partey’s every touch of the ball was what I think it was.
Anyway, we’re up and running with a clean sheet and three points.
Next up for Arsenal is Leicester City at The Emirates on Saturday at 3PM. If we’re really going for Tielemans, it’d be great to have him signed up and in the squad for that game. I still think Edu and Mikel have their eyes on someone else. They certainly have more than one more signing in their plans.
Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports:
We are going to try. We have a few things going on now and if we get them it will be great – but for now, we have to work with the players we have.
Fingers crossed eh…
See you in the comments..