LONDON — Arsenal started their top-flight 2022-23 campaign with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, showing the first signs of promise for this season. The Gunners got off to a flying start, with their three debutants putting in solid performances.
Here are the main points, best players, key stats and highlights of the game.
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Quick reaction: 3 takeaways
1. New season, new start for Arsenal
Arsenal were on the back foot on last season’s Friday night opener as they lost 2-0 to Brentford, but it was a different story under the lights of London this time. There was plenty to excite Gunners supporters in a pre-season in which they made shrewd signings and won all five friendlies, but it was the first major test of their hopes of returning to the club. top four and they made it. They had to take a chance at times with Aaron Ramsdale called up in a great save to deny Eberechi Eze early in the second half, but Marc Guehi’s own goal gave them a deserved victory that will only add to the feeling of optimism around the club.
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2. Palace miss the Gallagher spark
Eze is a good player and as he accelerates his comeback from an ACL injury, the highly rated 24-year-old will surely improve as he steps into the vacuum vacated by Conor Gallagher, who returned to Chelsea after a one season loan. last term. But Crystal Palace missed Gallagher on Friday. Only Wilfried Zaha (15 goals, two assists) has scored more goals than Gallagher (eight goals, five assists) and Palace have lacked both their energy to break up Arsenal’s possession spells and their power in the last third.
3. Arsenal debutants make the difference
William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko made their Arsenal debuts at Selhurst Park and all contributed in different ways to a hard-fought victory. Jesus was impressive as Arsenal dominated the first 35 minutes while Zinchenko’s header was key to a clever corner kick routine that allowed Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring. Saliba, perhaps the most anticipated debutant of all given he originally signed for Arsenal three years ago, was a much more assured presence than his more experienced centre-back partner Gabriel. It’s only the beginning, but all three have shown their potential.
Crystal Palace: Guaita 6, Clyne 6, Guehi 4, Andersen 6, Mitchell 6, Doucoure 6, Eze 6, Schlupp 6, Ayew 6, Zaha 6, Edouard 5.
Subtitles: Mateta 6, Milivojevic 6, Schlupp 6, Ebiowei 6.
Arsenal: Ramsdale 8, Blanc 6, Gabriel 5, Saliba 8, Zinchenko 7, Partey 7, Xhaka 7, Odegaard 6, Saka 7, Martinelli 7, Jesus 7.
Subtitles: Tierney 6, Nketiah 6, Lokonga 6.
Best and Worst Performers
Best: William Saliba
The pressure on this kid is intense given that Arsenal fans have been clamoring for his inclusion since he signed from Saint-Etienne in 2019 – and he hasn’t disappointed. A composed display featuring several vital interceptions and helped Arsenal through tough times.
Worse: Odsonne Edouard
Palace struggled for an edge for long stretches of the game and Edouard missed his only real chance of the first half heading straight for Ramsdale. Naturally replaced Jean-Philippe Mateta before the hour mark.
Highlights and Moments
Martinelli scored the first goal of the 2022-23 Premier League season from an Arsenal corner and an assist from Zinchenko.
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Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)
– Gabriel Martinelli scored his 12th career Premier League goal, his 2nd against Crystal Palace; he is tied for most goals against just one Premier League opponent (Sheffield United, West Ham and Leeds United).
– Arsenal record their 33rd Premier League clean sheet under Mikel Arteta as manager; the 5th most since its debut on December 26, 2019.
Crystal Palace: They face a tough next set of fixtures with a visit to Liverpool on August 15, a home game against Aston Villa on August 20 and a clash against champions Man City on August 27.
Arsenal: They host Leicester City on August 13 before facing newly-promoted sides Bournemouth on August 20 and then Fulham on August 27.