Arsenal beat Palace in the opening Premier League match

Mueez Ajao

– Arsenal got their campaign off to the perfect start as Mikel Arteta’s side beat Crystal Palace in an entertaining 2022-23 Premier League curtain-raiser at Selhurst Park.

– The Gunners maintained their impressive pre-season form with an energetic performance that was rewarded when Gabriel Martinelli nodded in a 20th-minute opener from new signing Oleksandr Zinchenko’s headed assist.

Gabriel Martinelli

– It took Palace most of the first half to adapt to the visitors’ tempo, but once they did Odsonne Edouard forced Aaron Ramsdale into a save after Joachim Andersen’s header found him in the six-yard box.

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– Buoyed by a vibrant home crowd, the Eagles poured forward in search of a leveller but it was Arsenal who found the net again, Marc Guehi inadvertently heading Bukayo Saka’s fierce cross into his own goal late on.

– We may have to wait until the second series to learn whether Arteta piped Palace anthem ‘Glad All Over’ out during training before this one – as he did with ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before visiting Anfield last season – or whether it was the Spaniard’s artwork that set the tone, but his side arrived with a relentless intensity that made Martinelli’s opening goal feel inevitable.

– The 21-year-old Brazilian had earlier missed a glorious chance after Gabriel Jesus waltzed through the Palace defence, skewing wide of the far post after his compatriot’s effort was blocked, but he stooped to head in from a clever corner routine.

– The Gunners lost their opening three league games last season, including another Friday night opener at Brentford, and ultimately narrowly missed out on a return to Champions League football.

– But they have strengthened with the acquisitions of Jesus and Zinchenko from Manchester City and both already look to set to have a big impact on Arteta’s young squad.

– Jesus, who scored seven goals in five pre-season games, caused Palace’s back four problems with his relentless work-rate as well as his talent on the ball, and he laid on a chance for Martin Odegaard that the Gunners captain might have done better with.

– It was another Arsenal debutant who really impressed, with 21-year-old centre back William Saliba – who has spent most of his three years at the club out on loan, producing a fine defensive display.

William Saliba

– The Frenchman was part of a back four that had to show resilience amid the hosts’ growing threat, before Guehi’s own goal following a snappy Saka break made things more comfortable.

– It was a result and performance that will have pleased boss Arteta, while simultaneously giving Arsenal’s top-four rivals a glimpse of what they are up against this term.

Arsenal FC