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Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: Five things we learned as Martinelli and Saka sparkle


Arsenal got their new Premier League campaign off to a winning start as they defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park. The Gunners were in scintillating form in the early stages of the match as Gabriel Martinelli struck after 20 minutes. But they were then forced to defend for their lives at the other end of the pitch as Palace knocked on the door during the second half. Mikel Arteta’s team held firm, however, and secured the points as Bukayo Saka’s effort five minutes from time was deflected into his own net by Marc Guehi. And Express Sport takes a look at five things we learnt from the match.

Arsenal are a far cry from the side they were a year ago

Arsenal were involved in the Premier League curtain-raiser last season but were embarrassed by newly-promoted Brentford, who beat them 2-0 in west London. That result was the start of a three-game losing steak as the Gunners suffered one of their worst starts to a campaign ever.

Fast-forward 12 months and Arsenal are a completely different team. Arteta has worked wonders over the last year and his side looked much more assured at Selhurst Park. The Gunners’ starting team looks strong, despite being made to work hard for their victory, and they will fancy themselves to have a successful season.

Arsenal could have one of the best attacks in the Premier League

The Premier League is full of outstanding attacking players, with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham possessing a whole host of stars who can score at will. But Arsenal’s attack looks as good as anyone’s. Gabriel Jesus, Saka and Martinelli caused the Palace defence all sorts of problems throughout the evening. And the trio will score plenty of goals throughout the campaign.

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Jesus attention could play into Martinelli’s hands

Arsenal shelled out £45million to sign Jesus from Manchester City this summer. And rival teams will surely give the Brazil international plenty of attention during games. That means Martinelli could get extra space to produce the goods. The 21-year-old looks set have a big season for the north Londoners and could rack-up plenty of goals if Jesus’ presence draws defenders away from him.

Arsenal have got some grit

In seasons gone by, Arsenal have sometimes lacked the grit needed to see games out and have been bullied on occasions. But the Gunners players stood up and were counted when Palace asked them questions in the second half. And they managed to keep the Eagles at bay to secure the three points across the capital. Aaron Ramsdale made his presence known throughout in between the posts, while defenders William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko will be pleased with their Arsenal debuts.

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The Premier League could be more competitive than it’s ever been

Arsenal will believe they’re a top-four side. But across town, Tottenham have signed a string of top players and have one of the best managers in European football. Chelsea, meanwhile, cruised to third-place last time around, despite the fact they were in turmoil off-the-pitch.

Elsewhere, Manchester United have a new manager and have bolstered their squad as well. And that’s before you consider how dominant Manchester City and Liverpool have been in recent years. So we could be set to witness one of the most competitive Premier League seasons in history.

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