It could not have been good, 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 group that beat Sevilla final Saturday, which means a trio of debuts for William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Gabriel Jesus. All three have been essential final evening, and the previous Man Metropolis males instantly made an influence. Our dominant begin to the sport and a really spectacular opening 25 minutes featured them each in a major approach.
Jesus mainly terrorised the Palace defence early on. The run by way of so many defenders which introduced the prospect for Gabriel Martinelli would have stood the take a look at 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 acquired the objective 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 advised Sky Sports activities:
It was one of many set piece coaches that created the routine, sure. We practiced it yesterday.
I believe this group nonetheless tends to let the depth drop a bit 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 have been clearly seeking to get Wilfried Zaha working at Ben White. Personally, I believed he did properly on the market. Zaha provided little or no all sport, White ended up making 8 profitable tackles and 4 clearances so I’m a bit 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 believed he did his job properly.
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, nevertheless it raised their vitality a bit and so they acquired on high. Ramsdale then made two unbelievable saves, one both facet of half-time which have been way more essential than the one mistake and deserve extra focus. We have been below strain, and our goalkeeper performed his half in protecting 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 now we have Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe to come back again, however you possibly can see how no less than yet another high quality participant to function in that third between the center and the assault would actually be helpful for this facet.
A one objective lead is all the time precarious, however I didn’t really feel fairly as nervous as I did with this type 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 mentioned on the Arsecast Further final week that he simply seems to be like a severe dude, however that’s not simply the expression on his face. It’s the best way he goes about his job.
Truthfully, final evening he was completely excellent, in a very calm and managed approach. This wasn’t some helter-skelter show of final ditch defending. This was composure manifest. 7 clearances, one blocked shot, and one unimaginable sort out in our field which needed to be good on this period of VAR and gamers who make it appear like they’ve been shot each time they’re touched. He has presence, he reads the sport extraordinarily properly too which, for all his bodily attributes, is what separates a very good defender from an excellent defender.
Afterwards, Arteta was full of praise for the younger Frenchman, saying:
You don’t actually see that at 21 years outdated, a debut within the Premier League towards this opponent, these bodily gamers and resolve the state of affairs the best way he’s performed it with that composure, with that calmness and with that presence. Large credit score to the boy.
It augurs properly 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 very 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 have been concerned in our second objective. I don’t fairly perceive why KT was the furthest man ahead within the eighty fifth minute, lurking like some sort of goal man, however Ramsdale noticed him and picked him out with a protracted move from inside his personal field. Tierney did properly to go it to Martinelli, it went from Xhaka to Eddie, who performed it out large to Saka, and his cross compelled the personal objective off the pinnacle of Marc Guehi. Maybe a bit towards the run of play, however that’s soccer.
2-0 meant it was sport over. Palace knew it, the Arsenal followers knew it so that they serenaded Patrick Vieira, and the ultimate whistle introduced an finish to a tricky sport towards troublesome opposition who made life fairly laborious for us. Afterwards, Arteta spoke in regards to the resilience his facet confirmed:
You don’t win right here with out it. We skilled that final season. We began in a extremely completely different approach that we did final season right here, however constructing that mentality and discovering a solution to undergo these moments. Discovering a solution to keep clear sheets on this league goes to be very important for our success, and now we have managed to do this so hopefully that may construct some confidence as properly within the group.
Clearly there are issues we will do higher. To go so long as we did with out with the ability to actually change the momentum of the sport is one thing I’m certain 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 possibly can flip to when it’s good to pay money for a sport 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 while you’re sitting there with three factors within the bag. All in all a satisfying solution to begin the brand new season, and I’m certain 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 slightly than Monday.