Arsenal began the season with three points following a tricky fixture away to Crystal Palace, in which Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring before a late Marc Guehi own goal
Gabriel Jesus on his Premier League debut for Arsenal against Crystal Palace (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
When Arsenal’s fixtures for the new Premier League season were announced, an opening day clash away to Crystal Palace was not the most enticing for Gunners fans.
After Alexandre Lacazette salvaged a late point against Patrick Vieira’s side in their first encounter last season, Arsenal were swept aside in a 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park in April, a result that helped see the Gunners miss out on Champions League football.
What a difference four months makes. A new-look Arsenal were quick out of the blocks, putting the hosts under pressure from the off and getting their reward thanks to a Gabriel Martinelli header, with the attacker already having missed an incredible chance to open the scoring.
It was at times a tense encounter for Mikel Arteta’s side, with Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze missing gilt-edged chances to level the scores. But with the backline holding strong and time running down, a quick counter led to Bukayo Saka putting in a dangerous cross which saw Marc Guehi deflect the ball past Vicente Guaita to seal the points for the ɢυппeгѕ..
It was not a perfect start for Arsenal, with Arteta admitting his side showed “great resilience” to get through the difficult moments of the match. But a win and a clean sheet for the Gunners is a positive start to the season, and here’s how the national media reacted to the win.
“Any team with this many Gabriels should be able to blow its own trumpet now and then, and Arsenal have plenty to be proud of about their start to this season.
“Crystal Palace are a good team and will cause plenty of teams plenty of problems, particularly with the vociferous Selhurst Park crowd behind them. That Arsenal took a merited first-half lead and then held it under pressure is to their credit.
“So is the efficient melding of established players, young and old, with the fruits of summer transfer business. As for the Gabriels – well, Martinelli scored, Jesus was an impressive handful and Magalhaes was outstanding at the back. And if the first-half largely belonged to Arsenal’s forwards, then the second was about their defensive resilience in the face of a Palace onslaught – not a quality that has always been apparent for quite some while.”
“Arsenal’s Premier League season got off to the perfect start as they ran out 2-0 winners over Crystal Palace at a noisy Selhurst Park.
“For the second successive top-flight campaign, the Gunners were put in the opening match. But unlike 12 months ago, when they were outfought and outplayed by Brentford, Mikel Arteta’s side stood up to the challenge.
“As they so often are, Palace were backed by a fervent home crowd, but the visitors quickly worked to dim the noise with a fast start. The brilliant Gabriel Jesus almost created the opener after just four minutes, only to see Gabriel Martinelli fire wide after his mesmeric build-up play.
“After losing their first three games without scoring a goal to start last season, this was the ideal beginning to a campaign which must end in a top-four finish.”
“A new season and a new, ruthless winning machine called Arsenal? Nobody would sensibly take things to such an extreme but this was a big improvement on the fare they were serving up a mere four months ago. Back then they were demolished here, losing 3-0 and simply failing to turn up; no such accusation could be levelled this time and, while there were enough wobbles to leave Crystal Palace feeling a draw would have been fair, the fact they steered home safely at a traditionally turbulent hunting ground can only augur well.
“As opening games go this was intense, engaging fare in which both sides carried the fight admirably. A goal in each half settled things but perhaps the defining sequence, from an Arsenal perspective at least, came eight minutes after half-time when Wilfried Zaha was denied by the cleanest of tackles from William Saliba as he twisted towards the byline. An old foe had been bested by a newcomer to the league and it would not be the final time; Saliba was outstanding in his first game for Arsenal, three years after arriving from Saint-Etienne, and came into his own during waves of second-half pressure from the hosts. He will take some dislodging from their central defence now.”
“It was only the first game of the season, and Arsenal fans sang: “We are top of the league” slightly wryly, but the rejuvenation of their team under Mikel Arteta and their technical director Edu is undeniable. Trust the process? Increasingly. They’ve bought well. They’ve rebuilt well.
“Even the moments in this game when Crystal Palace came on strong, especially after the break, proved trying for Arsenal but ultimately encouraging. Oft accused of being brittle, of lacking leaders in recent years, Arsenal showed their mental and physical resilience, especially their centre back William Saliba.”