Mikel Arteta 'really pleased' with Arsenal’s resilience after win over Crystal Palace

Arsenal win Premier League season opener 2-0 thanks to Martinelli's header and a Guehi own goal

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Mikel Arteta lauded Arsenal’s resilience in their Premier League season-opening 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace but admitted much more was required from his attackers.

The Gunners walked away with all three points at Selhurst Park thanks to a first-half Gabriel Martinelli header and a late Marc Guehi own goal.

Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges but the Eagles challenged Arteta’s side after the restart as the visitors failed to create second-half chances in Gabriel Jesus’ competitive debut.

“I’m really pleased,” Arteta said. “Three points and a clean sheet against a really difficult opponent and a really tough place when they have the people going, and as we expected we were going to have tough periods during the match.

“You don’t win here without resilience. We experienced that last season [a 3-0 defeat], we started in a really different way than we did last season when we were here.

“It’s building that mentality and finding a way to go through those moments, maintain clean sheets in this league, is going to be vital to our success so hopefully that will breed some confidence as well in the team."

Friday's win was a marked improvement over their 2-0 loss to Brentford at the start of last season.

Martinelli nearly put Arsenal on the scoresheet early in the first half when the ball landed at his feet the edge of the six-yard box, but the Brazilian’s effort sailed well wide across the face of goal.

Redemption followed after he rose highest to nod in the opener in front of a crowded goal in the 20th minute.

The game was decided when Bukayo Saka’s 85th-minute cross connected with the head of the unfortunate Guehi.

Arsenal's William Saliba. PA

One player who did catch the eye was debutant William Saliba who thwarted several Palace attacks in an impressive first outing in the Premier League.

“You don’t really see that,” Arteta said of the French defender. “At 21 years old in the Premier League, against these physical players and resolve the situation the way he’s done it, with that composure, that calmness and that presence. Big credit to the boy.”

Palace boss Patrick Vieira, meanwhile, was left to rue his side's lack of composure in front of goal, with Odsonne Edouard, Eberechi Exe and Wilfried Zaha all culpable.

The hosts’ best chance came through Eberechi Eze, who found himself in a one-on-one after receiving a pinpoint pass from Wilfried Zaha but scuffed his effort.

“Today I think the biggest difference is we didn’t take that chance or those chances we created to at least get a point tonight,” Vieira said.

“We had some really good momentum at times but the story of the game is that we didn’t score that goal to get back into the game. That is what the frustration is about today.”

Updated: August 06, 2022, 5:27 AM
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