The Gunners enjoyed an excellent pre-season and dominated the early part of the encounter at Selhurst Park. They took a deserved lead when Gabriel Martinelli poked home from close range following a well-worked corner.
Palace improved in the second period and put plenty of pressure on their London rivals. But Mikel Arteta’s side stood firm and secured an all-important victory thanks to a late own goal from Marc Guehi.
It was an impressive defensive display from the visitors, but one player who really stood out was William Saliba. The youngster was making his long-awaited Premier League debut for the Gunners, having initially signed three years ago.
Saliba had been on loan at a Ligue 1 outfit ever since and was named the division’s Young Player of the Season while at Marseille last term. The French international put on a commanding display for his side as he helped guide them to an opening day victory.
The centre-back was given the Man of the Match award following the win, with Arsenal fans full of praise for him on Twitter after the full-time whistle:
Mikel Arteta hails ‘superb’ William Saliba performance following Arsenal victory
The Frenchman has gained praise from several high-profile names for his performance at Selhurst Park on Friday, including his manager.
Arteta must have been delighted by what he saw from his team in South East London, but went out of his way to heap praise on Saliba following a clean sheet on his debut. The Spanish boss told Sky Sports (as per BBC Sport):
“Saliba was superb tonight. The way we started the game and played in the first half hour was superb – we should have scored more. We had to play the game in ways we didn’t want to as it went on because Palace are able to do that to you.
“To win here, you need to suffer – we’ve done it and that’s part of the mentality we want to build, to come to places like this and win.”
Arteta also felt that there was room for improvement for his team following the win, as he declared:
“The most important thing is to win the first match, to build confidence and momentum, and then you can talk about things we need to improve – there were quite a few today, to be honest.”
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