Friday, July 12, 2024

5 Things we learned as Arsenal start the season with a win at Palace

So it turns out 75 days is a long time. Since Arsenal last played Premier League football, England have won the Women’s Euro’s, the Queen celebrated 70 years of service and Kate Bush has gone back to number one.

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But despite the long break not really feeling that long, Mikel Arteta’s side were back in action as they kicked off what was the earliest ever start to a Premier League campaign.

Friday night under the lights at Crystal Palace, all eyes were on the Gunners with the majority hoping for a repeat of the slip up that happened in exactly the same circumstances last season.

But after a summer of recruitment, a clear-out of unwanted players and a mightily impressive pre-season, Arsenal lived up to the hype and pressure on their shoulders.

An early opening goal from Gabriel Martinelli set the tie up nicely, which then took a nervy 60 minutes of ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ ringing out around Selhurst Park.

With the away fans in good voice, Bukayo Saka gave back to them in the best way possible, beating his man to then fire home a strike that thanks to Marc Guehi’s shoulder, made it 2-0 with just five minutes remaining.

In what is going to be a long and gruelling season with World Cup’s and Europa League to contend with, here’s five things we can pick out from Arsenal’s opening day success.

1 – The Ben White slander needs to stop

You arrive at Arsenal for £50m and a year later, you’re being faced with the reality of getting pushed out by someone who’s spent the last three seasons on loan.

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It sounds a bit far fetched doesn’t it, but this feels like a make or break season for Arsenal to convince William Saliba his future is in North London, which will ultimately have an affect on White’s game time.

With Takehiro Tomiyasu stilll not 100% match fit and the shaky performances from Cedric Soares last season, Arteta has turned to White to fill in at right back.

A position that he’s taken up at his former club Brighton, White has still received plenty of criticism on social media, suggesting he’s not quick or agile enough to play the role.

Gameday one and White was handed the challenge of holding off Wilfried Zaha, a player who always gives 10% extra in this fixture given the not so recent transfer saga in which Arsenal opted to go for Nicolas Pepe instead.

And despite a few nervy moments that led to a yellow card, all in all White made the position his own and managed to keep Zaha pretty quiet for the majority of the 90 minutes.

White actually made the most tackles of anyone on the pitch and had the second best rating on WhoScored with 7.7 whilst ensuring Zaha only had one shot of the match and only made two key passes.

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