Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: Debutants impress as Gunners kick off with a win

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It might not have been excellent, however kicking the season off with a win, a clear sheet, and three factors is de facto nothing to be sniffed at, particularly when you think about how all of us felt on this equal Saturday morning 12 months in the past.

As anticipated, Mikel Arteta selected the identical staff that beat Sevilla final Saturday, that means a trio of debuts for William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Gabriel Jesus. All three had been essential final evening, and the previous Man Metropolis males instantly made an impression. Our dominant begin to the sport and a really spectacular opening 25 minutes featured them each in a major method.

Jesus principally terrorised the Palace defence early on. The run by so many defenders which introduced the possibility for Gabriel Martinelli would have stood the check of time and gained help of the season (if such a factor existed), however his fellow Brazilian didn’t fairly kind his ft out and shanked it large when he ought to have scored.

Nevertheless, we received the purpose our early play deserved from a well-worked nook routine. Saka delivered, Zinchenko headed it again into the combo, and Martinelli was there to nod it dwelling from shut vary. Afterwards, Arteta informed Sky Sports activities:

It was one of many set piece coaches that created the routine, sure. We practiced it yesterday.

I believe this staff nonetheless tends to let the depth drop somewhat after we rating, so as a substitute of constructing on the lead, we allowed Palace again into it. The excellent passing vary of Joachim Andersen from the again was an actual weapon for them (one thing I want we’d tried to shut down extra, to be trustworthy), and so they had been clearly trying to get Wilfried Zaha operating at Ben White. Personally, I assumed he did effectively on the market. Zaha provided little or no all recreation, White ended up making 8 profitable tackles and 4 clearances so I’m somewhat bemused on the notion he struggled. Maybe one or two misplaced passes early on created that perspective, as a result of we all know he’s higher than that, however defensively I assumed he did his job effectively.

Talking of misplaced passes, there’s in all probability a slight through-line between Palace getting again into the sport and Aaron Ramsdale making a poor clearance on the again. There was clearly extra to it than that, however it raised their vitality a bit and so they received on high. Ramsdale then made two unbelievable saves, one both aspect of half-time which had been way more essential than the one mistake and deserve extra focus. We had been below strain, and our goalkeeper performed his half in maintaining that clear sheet.

From our perspective we struggled to get management, midfield felt a bit subdued and under-par, and throughout the second half I appeared on the bench and didn’t actually a see lot there to vary issues. I do know we have now Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe to come back again, however you’ll be able to see how no less than another high quality participant to function in that third between the center and the assault would actually be helpful for this aspect.

A one purpose lead is at all times precarious, however I didn’t really feel fairly as nervous as I did with this sort of scoreline final season. I believe we’re defensively extra strong, and a giant a part of that, a Gallic 6’4 a part of that, was William Saliba. I stated on the Arsecast Further final week that he simply seems like a severe dude, however that’s not simply the expression on his face. It’s the way in which he goes about his job.

Actually, final evening he was completely excellent, in a very calm and managed method. This wasn’t some helter-skelter show of final ditch defending. This was composure manifest. 7 clearances, one blocked shot, and one unimaginable deal with in our field which needed to be excellent on this period of VAR and gamers who make it seem like they’ve been shot each time they’re touched. He has presence, he reads the sport extraordinarily effectively too which, for all his bodily attributes, is what separates an excellent defender from an excellent defender.

Afterwards, Arteta was filled with reward for the younger Frenchman, saying:

You don’t actually see that at 21 years outdated, a debut within the Premier League in opposition to this opponent, these bodily gamers and resolve the scenario the way in which he’s executed it with that composure, with that calmness and with that presence. Large credit score to the boy.

It augurs effectively for what’s to come back, and after so lengthy it was actually pleasing to see him make his debut and mark it with a efficiency like that. The actual fact we couldn’t actually do a lot up the opposite finish till late within the second half made it much more essential too.

Kieran Tierney and Eddie Nketiah got here on for Zinchenko and Jesus, and each had been concerned in our second purpose. I don’t fairly perceive why KT was the furthest man ahead within the eighty fifth minute, lurking like some type of goal man, however Ramsdale noticed him and picked him out with an extended go from inside his personal field. Tierney did effectively to move it to Martinelli, it went from Xhaka to Eddie, who performed it out large to Saka, and his cross compelled the personal purpose off the pinnacle of Marc Guehi. Maybe somewhat in opposition to the run of play, however that’s soccer.

2-0 meant it was recreation over. Palace knew it, the Arsenal followers knew it in order that they serenaded Patrick Vieira, and the ultimate whistle introduced an finish to a tricky recreation in opposition to tough opposition who made life fairly exhausting for us. Afterwards, Arteta spoke in regards to the resilience his aspect confirmed:

You don’t win right here with out it. We skilled that final season. We began in a very totally different method that we did final season right here, however constructing that mentality and discovering a strategy to undergo these moments. Discovering a strategy to keep clear sheets on this league goes to be important for our success, and we have now managed to try this so hopefully that can construct some confidence as effectively within the staff.

Clearly there are issues we will do higher. To go so long as we did with out having the ability to actually change the momentum of the sport is one thing I’m positive the supervisor will probably be involved with, and as I discussed earlier, I nonetheless suppose there’s room within the squad for one more participant or two who you’ll be able to flip to when it is advisable pay money for a recreation once more.

Nevertheless, there have been loads of positives too, and it’s a lot simpler to have a dialogue about what we will enhance once you’re sitting there with three factors within the bag. All in all a satisfying strategy to begin the brand new season, and I’m positive there’ll be loads of work on the coaching floor this week forward of Leicester subsequent Saturday.

Proper, that’s it for this morning. Chat away within the Arses, and James and I’ll have an Arsecast Further for you tomorrow quite than Monday.


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