Our 3️⃣ points as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace in Premier League opener | OneFootball

Our 3️⃣ points as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace in Premier League opener

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OneFootball

Thomas Stockting

Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta got the new Premier League campaign underway in perfect fashion as they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Friday evening.

Crystal Palace 0
Arsenal 2
Full time

Here’s what we made of it.


Arsenal’s new boys show off their talent

Arsenal got off to a turbulent start at the beginning of the last campaign as a team depleted by injuries and compounded by late transfer business got off to their worst Premier League start in over 50 years.

Fast toward 12 months and it’s a different story – the Gunners have already picked up more points, scored more goals and registered more clean sheets in August 2022 than they did in the entirety of August 2021.

In no small part is this because of the way Mikel Arteta and co. have chosen to strengthen the side.

Despite fading as the game went on, Oleksander Zinchenko stood out in a blistering first half that saw the Ukrainian get his first assist for Arsenal’s opening goal.

In the injury-enforced absence of Kieren Tierney (who made a late substitute appearance), Zinchenko was a more than able replacement – if not an improvement.

Gabriel Jesus’s driving runs and constant pressure are sure to be a recurring theme throughout the season but it was a ‘new’ boy at the back that made an even bigger impression.

Calm on the ball and decisive in the tackle, William Saliba’s debut (three years after signing for the club) was imperious to say the least.


Andersen long balls a potent Palace threat

At the other end of the field, Joachim Andersen stood-out amongst the Crystal Palace players.

Standing up strong to Gabriel Jesus and unafraid to match Gabriel Martinelli in a foot race, the Denmark international was a rock in Palace’s back line.

It was, however, the 26-year-old’s passing range that proved his most effective tool as the hosts struggled to build up from the back with Arsenal’s frenzied press.

When that happened though, Andersen would be unafraid to fire the ball long with such accuracy that it had the Gunners’ defence swivelling on their heels time and time again.

Even when they didn’t find their intended targets, Palace collected the second phase, bypassing the opposition midfield which in turn created their best chances of the game – two for Odsonne Édouard in the first half and one Eberechi Eze in the second.

Crystal Palace may not have picked up a result tonight but Patrick Vieira, and Andersen, are laying down some promising groundwork.


Ramsdale to the rescue

This is not to say that Arsenal defended poorly, quite the contrary – both centre-backs barely put a foot wrong whilst the slightly mismatched Ben White just about held his own against one of the Premier League’s trickiest customers.

However, as previously mentioned, Palace’s ability to go long and collect the second ball posed problems for Arsenal and on the few occasions where they did get in behind Aaron Ramsdale was on hand.

Ramsdale, who will be seeking to push Jordan Pickford for England’s number one spot at the World Cup this winter came up with two key saves on either side of half-time to keep Arsenal in the lead.

Some first-day jitters may have got the best of him with the ball at his feet and when claiming a couple of deep crosses, but Ramsdale was an instrumental figure in Arsenal’s opening day victory.

This win also marks the 50th victory (after 98 games) in the Premier League for the Gunners under Mikel Arteta – only one manager has done it quicker for Arsenal, no prizes if you can guess who that is.