Arsenal began the 2022/23 Premier League season with a win after seeing off the challenge of Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park.
The Gunners failed to score until their fourth Premier League game of last season but didn’t have to wait too long for Gabriel Martinelli to break the deadlock this time. An own goal from Palace captain Marc Guehi killed any chance of a late comeback but Patrick Vieira will have seen promising signs.
Arsenal should have gone ahead just three minutes in when Gabriel Jesus’ mazy run and pass laid on a golden chance for Martinelli, who mis-hit the ball wide of the far post. Oleksandr Zinchenko soon saw an effort beaten away by Vicente Guaita as the Gunners piled on early pressure.
The opener had been coming and Martinelli made up for his earlier miss when he nodded the ball into the net, meeting Zinchenko’s powerful header back across goal. Palace, despite having numbers in the penalty area, just couldn’t deal with it.
The visitors were in total control but that was put at risk a couple of times in the first half hour when Aaron Ramsdale, otherwise a spectator up to that point. took a little too long on the ball. The Gunners also survived penalty claims when the ball appeared to drop onto Gabriel’s arm.
Palace were on more of an even footing by half-time and actually should have equalised when Odsonne Edouard headed straight at Ramsdale from the middle of the box. The Frenchman still had time before the interval to try and bulldoze his way through, but Granit Xhaka blocked the shot.
The hosts had a glorious chance soon after the restart too. Eberechi Eze was sharp enough to make space for himself but his effort was too tame and Ramsdale was comfortably equal to it.
New Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard was guilty of trying to overplay it on the hour mark, looking for an extra pass when he had a clear sight of goal and ended up being dispossessed.
Palace were the team applying the pressure as the game entered its final 10 minutes – Joachim Andersen really impressed with the ball at his feet, at times operating like a deep-lying play-maker. If anything, the killer second Arsenal goal was against the run of play. Bukayo Saka made it happen, taking on Tyrick Mitchell and flashing a ball across goal that the unwitting Guehi turned into the net.
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1)
GK: Vicente Guaita – 5/10 – Might question himself on Martinelli’s goal.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne – 6/10 – After an early chance, Martinelli wasn’t that much of a threat from open play.
CB: Joachim Andersen – 8/10 – Frustrated Arsenal from a defensive perspective and even impressed passing the ball forward.
CB: Marc Guehi (c) – 6/10 – The own goal was unlucky.
LB: Tyrick Mitchell – 6/10 – Beaten by Saka for the second goal. Had done well against his England teammate before that.
CM: Cheick Doucoure – 7/10 – Looked keen to make his mark with a physical approach early on. Only misplaced one pass in his 75 minutes.
CM: Jeffrey Schlupp – 6/10 – Worked hard to drive forward from midfield.
RM: Jordan Ayew – 5/10 – Not that involved overall.
AM: Eberechi Eze – 7/10 – Didn’t see enough of the ball in the first half. Improved significantly in the second and should have scored.
LM: Wilfried Zaha – 7/10 – Grew into the game and started to put White under pressure in the second half.
ST: Odsonne Edouard – 6/10 – Got the nod to start but couldn’t take his golden chance when it came.
SUB: Jean-Philippe Mateta (58′ for Edouard) – 5/10
SUB: Luka Milivojevic (75′ for Doucoure) – 5/10
SUB: Will Hughes (86′ for Schlupp) – N/A
SUB: Malcolm Ebiowei (86′ for Eze) – N/A
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 6/10 – Shaky with the ball at his feet but pulled off a few important saves.
RB: Ben White – 5/10 – Not the most comfortable out of his usual position.
CB: William Saliba – 8/10 – A long overdue Premier League debut but it didn’t faze him and he did well snuffing out danger that came his way.
CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – 6/10 – Survived a penalty claim in the first half.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7/10 – Started really well with energy up and down the left flank and claimed an assist. Faded a little.
CM: Thomas Partey – 6/10 – Okay but didn’t stand out.
CM: Granit Xhaka – 5/10 – Booked for diving.
RM: Bukayo Saka – 7/10 – Made the vital second goal that gave Arsenal their cushion.
AM: Martin Odegaard (c) – 5/10 – Bizarrely poor with the ball and good without it. Declined a glorious invitation to shoot in front of goal.
LM: Gabriel Martinelli – 6/10 – Made up for a bad early miss with the opening goal. Probably could have done more overall.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – 8/10 – The brightest spark in the Arsenal lineup and looked capable of making things happen out of nothing.
SUB: Kieran Tierney (83′ for Zinchenko) – N/A
SUB: Eddie Nketiah (83′ for Jesus) – N/A
SUB: Albert Sambi Lokonga (90+3′ for Odegaard) – N/A