Mikel Arteta said his Arsenal side look “hungry” after getting their campaign off to the perfect start with victory over Crystal Palace in an entertaining 2022-23 Premier League curtain-raiser at Selhurst Park. The Gunners maintained their impressive pre-season form with an energetic performance that was rewarded when Gabriel Martinelli nodded in a 20th-minute opener from new signing Oleksandr Zinchenko’s headed assist. It took Palace most of the first half to adapt to the visitors’ tempo, but once they did Odsonne Edouard forced Aaron Ramsdale into a save after Joachim Andersen’s header found him in the six-yard box.
Buoyed by a vibrant home crowd, the Eagles poured forward in search of a leveller but it was Arsenal who found the net again, Marc Guehi inadvertently heading Bukayo Saka’s fierce cross into his own goal late on. Between Arsenal’s savvy transfer business, free-scoring pre-season form and being the focus of Amazon’s latest All or Nothing series, there has been plenty to whet their fans’ appetites this summer. The 21-year-old Brazilian, Martinelli, had earlier missed a glorious chance after Gabriel Jesus waltzed through the Palace defence, skewing wide of the far post after his compatriot’s effort was blocked, but he stooped to head in from a clever corner routine.
The Gunners lost their opening three league games last season, including another Friday night opener at Brentford, and ultimately narrowly missed out on a return to Champions League football. But they have strengthened with the acquisitions of Jesus and Zinchenko from Manchester City and both already look set to have a big impact on Arteta’s young squad. Jesus, who scored seven goals in five pre-season games, caused Palace’s back four problems with his relentless work-rate as well as his talent on the ball, and he laid on a chance for Martin Odegaard that the Gunners captain might have done better with.
It was another Arsenal debutant who really impressed, with 21-year-old centre back William Saliba – who has spent most of his three years at the club out on loan, producing a fine defensive display. The Frenchman was part of a back four that had to show resilience amid the hosts’ growing threat, before Guehi’s own goal following a snappy Saka break made things more comfortable. It was a result and performance that will have pleased Arteta, who recorded his 50th league win as Gunners boss, while simultaneously giving Arsenal’s top-four rivals a glimpse of what they are up against this term.