Mikel Arteta Arsenal hailed Crystal Palace’s ability to attack in the second half to make the perfect start to the Premier League season with a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park on Friday. At the ground where the Gunners lost 3-0 in April to spark the late-season collapse that cost them a place in the Champions League, Arteta’s men were then kept out. Gabriel Martinelli’s header gave them a half-time lead.
A late Mark Gehey own goal sealed the three points after Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze missed big chances for Palace.
“Winning is the most important thing. Winning the first match gives confidence, momentum and then we can talk about the things we have to improve,” Arteta said.
“You have to take losses to win here. We’ve done that and that’s part of the mentality we want to build.”
Arsenal were beaten 2-0 at Brentford on the opening night of last year’s season, marking their worst start to a league campaign in 67 years.
But they backed up their blistering pre-season form and rewarded the faith placed in Arteta with more than £100 million ($120 million) to spend in the transfer market.
Gabriel JesusArsenal’s summer signing marquee arrived to fill their need for a centre-forward and the Brazilian almost marked his debut in style after just four minutes.
Jesus slogged through the middle of the Palace defense and Martinelli should have done better with the rebound wide of the slot when his initial effort was blocked.
The visitors completely dominated the opening quarter, but it took a set piece to secure the win.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, another debutant, nodded a corner behind the goal and Martinelli’s header had enough power to beat Vicente. Guetta.
Palace had to face more problems than the pre-season as a number of key players were left at home during the tour of Australia due to their coronavirus vaccination status.
It took half an hour for the Eagles to find their feet, but they will be disappointed not to have taken at least a point once they got into the swing of the game.
Arsenal were guilty of causing their own problems to rouse the Palace fans as Aaron Ramsdale charged a clearance and luckily the England goalkeeper parried it back to one of his own defenders.
Ramsdale made amends with a fine stop to deny Eduard’s header before the break before the French striker had another effort deflected inches over the bar.
Palace pegged Arteta’s men back in the second period, but again failed to take chances when they came along.
Eberechi Eze was most culpable as he fired a shot into the body of Ramsdale that only beat the Arsenal number one.
“The difference between the two teams is that they score goals,” said Palace boss and former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.
“We created two really good chances to score and we didn’t waste our chances.”
Arsenal barely even threatened a counter-attack in the second half, but were lucky to give themselves breathing room for the final five minutes.
Bokaio Saka’s cross caught his England team-mate Gehry off guard as the Palace centre-back’s header went into his own net.
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