Arsenal got the 2022/23 campaign underway with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Friday night.
Crystal Palace took four points from the two meetings between the two sides last season, though the teams came into the game on the back of largely differing pre-season preparations, with Arsenal having won all five of their games in the off-season.
It was Arsenal who started the Premier League opener firmly on the front foot, and they bagged the first goal of the new campaign in the 20th minute of the contest. A deep inswinging corner found the unmarked Oleksandr Zinchenko who nodded the ball back into a central area before Gabriel Martinelli got up above his man to nod the North Londoners ahead.
Following the opener, Arsenal had a few nervy moments at the back – moments that seemed to give Crystal Palace confidence as the hosts ended the first period in the ascendancy.
The Eagles continued in their search for an equaliser after the break, and created the first big chance of the second period, with Eberechi Eze forcing a save from new Arsenal number 1 Aaron Ramsdale in the opening minutes.
Palace continued to dominate possession and they continued to push for the equaliser, but with just five minutes of the contest remaining, Arsenal broke up the field to secure all three points. Bukayo Saka received the ball on the right, before his cross was deflected past Vicente Guaita off the head of Marc Guehi.
50 – Mikel Arteta has won 50 league matches with Arsenal after 98 games in charge, making him the second-quickest manager to reach 50 top-flight wins for the Gunners, after Arsène Wenger (94th game). Mantle. pic.twitter.com/7d6sOyUmWC
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 5, 2022
Speaking after the game, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted to Sky Sports that there were ‘quite a few’ things that his side needed to improve upon from this evening’s performance.
“The most important thing is to win the first match, to build confidence and momentum, and then you can talk about things we need to improve – there were quite a few today, to be honest,” he said.
Arteta finally gave an Arsenal debut to William Saliba, with the 21-year-old putting in a Man of the Match performance in South London, and the Gunners boss was pleased that his side showed their ability to ‘suffer’ during Palace’s dominant periods.
“Saliba was superb tonight,” he said. “The way we started the game and played in the first half hour was superb – we should have scored more.
“We had to play the game in ways we didn’t want to as it went on because Palace are able to do that to you. To win here, you need to suffer – we’ve done it and that’s part of the mentality we want to build, to come to places like this and win.
“You need the right balance because if you come short in terms of physicality in this game, you’re going to be exposed. To have players at the back of the right size is really important in these kinds of matches. That’s the resilience we need to win football matches and see them through.
“Aaron Ramsdale did incredibly well from the one-on-one and won the game for us.”
Next up for Arsenal is a home game against Leicester.