January 27, 2023

Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s strength after they kicked off the Premier League season on Friday with an impressive win over Crystal Palace.

Gabriel Martinelli scored the opener at Selhurst Park before a late Marc Guehi own goal gave Arsenal three points – and helped them avoid a repeat of last season, when an opening night defeat to Brentford put them on course for their worst start in 67 years.

“I’m very happy with a clean sheet and three points against a very strong opponent,” said Arteta.

“We had some difficult periods during the game. We’ve shown resilience to get through it, and I’m really positive.

Mikel Arteta sees improvements to his Arsenal squad despite 2-0 win over Selhurst Park

‘You can’t win here without it. We started very differently than last season. Finding a way to get through these moments will be vital for us.’

Arteta added: “The most important thing is to win the first game, build confidence and momentum, and then you can talk about things we need to improve – there were quite a few, to be honest.

“The way we started and played the game in the first half was fantastic – we should have scored more… to win here you have to suffer – we did it and that’s part of the mentality we want build up, to come to places like this and win.’

Arteta made three competitive debuts at Selhurst Park while the Gunners kept a rare clean sheet

The Arsenal boss handed competitive debut to Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and William Saliba at Selhurst Park.

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All three were impressed and Saliba was named man of the match after an imperious performance to help the visitors keep a clean sheet.

“You don’t really see a 21-year-old debut in the Premier League against physical opponents, with that composure, composure and presence,” said Arteta. “He’s now proven he’s ready.”

Jesus, Arsenal’s new striker, who cost £45m, also shone when the manager claimed: ‘The match he played from the start is just a defenders nightmare.

“He’s electric, he never stops, he’s always on your shoulder, he’s ready to go with and without the ball and I’m very happy with his performance.”

However, Arsenal struggled to capture their early lead, leaving it 1-0 until five minutes from time. Palace pushed for the equalizer until Guehi deflected a cross from Bukayo Saka.

“We have to be more ruthless in front of goal, we’re missing that lead but that has to come.” added Arteta.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera said there were ‘good moments’ but the goals were ‘bad’

Palace boss Patrick Vieira, on the other hand, was left to missed opportunities.

“I don’t know if 2-0 is well deserved for Arsenal,” he said.

“The two goals we conceded were bad. And when we had good moments, the momentum, we created two really good chances to get back into the game and we didn’t take them… (that) cost us the game.”