The new Premier League season started Friday as Crystal Palace hosted Arsenal. Arsenal fans have anticipated this game after their impressive start and conclusion to their preseason games, in which they went unbeaten. It wasn’t just the results, but the manner in which they controlled some of those preseason games could be signs that they are about to transition into a new era of premier league dominance. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because for that to happen, the Gunners must be able to handle the likes of City and Liverpool on a given day, as they did Chelsea in preseason.
The new signings in key areas is one of the most attractive changes that could elevate the Gunners and help them finish in the Champions League spots. Gabriel Jesus, their new striker offers so much more than their previous number nine in recent years. He was magnificent in the match against Crystal Palace, one of his runs led to a corner kick in which another young Arsenal star, Gabriel Martinelli, was able to capitalize for the first goal. It was none other than Oleksandr Zinchenko, the former City defender who also played with Gabriel Jesus for the Citizens in recent years, whom assisted the goal.
Arsenal dominated most of the first half hour of the match as they took the lead in the 20th minute, while Palace sat back. The home team is usually resilient in their defending, especially at home and against whomever, irrespective of their opponents being Liverpool or City. However, a moment of confusion on a set piece was what gifted the lead to Arsenal, and they never looked back. A few half chances for Crystal Palace were suffocated by the new Arsenal number one, who himself had a decent game, apart from being lackadaisical on a couple occasions in the first half, but the home side fail to capitalize.
The man of the match was none other than William Saliba, the young French and former Marseille defender who was brought in this offseason to help stabilize an underwhelming Arsenal’s defense in recent years. Saliba was very solid at the back, his timing was impeccable as he had a few strong tackles during the match. His positioning and calmness are likely to niche the entire defense, adding a sense of calmness. Meanwhile, the contributions of others like Zinchenko, as well as the promising Ben White who was signed last season, could certainly lift the Gunners into contention, and not just for Champions League football, but also some piece of silverware this season.