Later News Aug 06

All eyes on Jesus as he makes Arsenal debut, but defence proves to be the real MVP for Gunners


So, it turned out to be a Good Friday after all for Gabriel Jesus and Arsenal, as they opened their English Premier League (EPL) campaign with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Crystal Palace this morning (SGT).

 

But while the pre-match headlines were dominated by Jesus – who over 70% of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers put their faith in – it was Arsenal’s defence that stole the limelight against the Eagles.

 

WATCH: Arteta says Jesus was "electric" in Arsenal debut

 

Indeed, Jesus only scored the basic two points for FPL, as he failed to either score or provide an assist, despite coming close on a few occasions. Arsenal’s goals ultimately came from Gabriel Martinelli, as well as an own goal from Marc Guehi, who turned in a Bukayo Saka cross.

 

Instead, it was the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White, new signing Oleksandr Zinchenko, ‘like a new signing’ William Saliba, and Aaron Ramsdale who put in a committed display at the back to keep Palace from scoring.

 

And that, according to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, was the key to them getting all three points at Selhurst Park.

 

“I'm really pleased with winning, getting the three points and a clean sheet against a really difficult opponent in a tough place where they really got their people going,” Arteta said. “As we expected, we were going to have tough periods during the match, but we showed great resilience to get through them.

 

“You need the right balance because if you come short in terms of physicality in this game, you're going to be exposed. To have players at the back of the right size is really important in these kinds of matches. That's the resilience we need to win football matches and see them through. Aaron Ramsdale did incredibly well from the one-on-one and won the game for us.

 

“We started in a really different way to what we did last year. Building that mentality and finding a way to go through those moments and clean sheets in this league is going to be vital for our success and we have managed to do that. Hopefully that will breed some confidence in the team.”

 

WATCH: Arteta praises Saliba after man-of-the-match display

 

Palace manager and Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira bemoaned his players’ uncanny impression of Timo Werner in the final third, as they spurned two good opportunities to draw level before the visitors’ second goal.

 

“We created two really good chances to score and we didn't take them. In this game, you get punished really hard. Of course I'm disappointed because we could have scored, even if we didn't create much,” Vieira mused.

 

“Football is about trying to score goals and we played against a good side. It's really difficult to control the game against teams that have really good players. We had the ball, we had situations but we didn't create very much. In the key moments, we didn't score to lift the crowd and build momentum. That is something we have to work on.”

 

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