Arsenal verdict: New-look Gunners hardly convincing in Palace win but Jesus & Zinchenko have instilled winning mentality

5 days ago 16

WHAT a difference a year makes.

It was 12 months ago that Arsenal opened the new Premier League season with a chaotic defeat to new boys Brentford – things feel a lot different now after launching with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.

Reuters
Striker Gabriel Jesus evades Crystal Palace midfielder Cheick Doucoure[/caption]
Oleksandr Zinchenko controls the ball ahead of Eagles’ attacker Jordan Ayew in a pretty impressive debut for the Arsenal widemanGetty
Star signing Gabriel Jesus celebrates Arsenal’s opener from Gabriel MartinelliReuters

After a big spending summer and scintillating pre-season build-up Mikel Arteta had pledged to take his side to the next level.

Key to the step up are the arrivals of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City.

On this evidence, the plan may just work.

Jesus, signed for £45million from The Etihad, was at it from the off, charging forward and wriggling through red and blue shirts before seeing his effort blocked.

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The loose ball fell to Gabriel Martinelli, who fired wide of the far post when he really should have tucked it away.

Martinelli made up for that error with the opener, however, with Zinchenko playing a role.

The Ukrainian full-back, impressive and intelligent throughout, met Bukayo Saka’s deep corner and headed back across goal for Martinelli to convert a free header.

Arteta’s side dominated the opening half-an-hour or so but either side of the break things opened up with Palace creating chances for Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze – both of which Aaron Ramsdale was equal to.

Arsenal had to ride their luck at times but, as the Eagles tried to turn the screw late on the Gunners managed to hold them back – with William Saliba particularly impressive at the back on his long awaited debut.

As Palace ramped up the pressure, Arteta reacted by sending on Kieran Tierney to try and shore things up.

Within minutes Saka had shot up the other end to seal the victory and leave them top of the table on the opening night.

It could have been more bombastic and convincing, but Arteta will have seen plenty of encouragement in the opening half that his side could blow a few teams away this season while there was also a touch of steel at times.

The Spaniard will head back across London much happier than this time last year.

The Gunners celebrate Gabriel Martinelli’s opener at Selhurst ParkRichard Pelham / The Sun
Richard Pelham / The Sun
Gabriel Martinelli bagged the first goal of the Prem season on 47 minutes[/caption]
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