It could not have been good, however kicking the season off with a win, a clear sheet, and three factors is absolutely 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 workforce that beat Sevilla final Saturday, that means a trio of debuts for William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Gabriel Jesus. All three have been crucial 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 big method.
Jesus mainly terrorised the Palace defence early on. The run by means of so many defenders which offered 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 toes out and shanked it huge when he ought to have scored.
Nonetheless, we bought the aim our early play deserved from a well-worked nook routine. Saka delivered, Zinchenko headed it again into the combination, and Martinelli was there to nod it residence 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 workforce nonetheless tends to let the depth drop a bit of after we rating, so as an alternative of constructing on the lead, we allowed Palace again into it. The very good 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), they usually have been clearly seeking to get Wilfried Zaha working at Ben White. Personally, I assumed 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 of 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 properly.
Talking of misplaced passes, there’s most likely 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 they usually bought on prime. Ramsdale then made two incredible saves, one both aspect of half-time which have been way more vital than the one mistake and deserve extra focus. We have been below strain, and our goalkeeper performed his half in preserving 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 seemed on the bench and didn’t actually a see lot there to vary issues. I do know we’ve Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe to return again, however you possibly can see how at the very least yet another high quality participant to function in that third between the center and the assault would actually be helpful for this aspect.
A one aim lead is at all times 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 an enormous 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 appears to be like 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 totally 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 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 superb 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 in opposition to this opponent, these bodily gamers and resolve the state of affairs 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 properly for what’s to return, 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 vital too.
Kieran Tierney and Eddie Nketiah got here on for Zinchenko and Jesus, and each have been concerned in our second aim. 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 an extended go from inside his personal field. Tierney did properly to move it to Martinelli, it went from Xhaka to Eddie, who performed it out huge to Saka, and his cross pressured the personal aim off the pinnacle of Marc Guehi. Maybe a bit of in opposition to 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 troublesome sport in opposition to troublesome opposition who made life fairly arduous for us. Afterwards, Arteta spoke concerning 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’ve managed to do this so hopefully that can construct some confidence as properly within the workforce.
Clearly there are issues we are able to 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 positive the supervisor shall be involved with, and as I discussed earlier, I nonetheless assume there’s room within the squad for an additional participant or two who you possibly can flip to when it is advisable to pay money for a sport once more.
Nonetheless, there have been loads of positives too, and it’s a lot simpler to have a dialogue about what we are able to enhance while you’re sitting there with three factors within the bag. All in all a lovely 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 fairly than Monday.