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Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus shine | Gary Neville says Saliba is like a young Rio Ferdinand | Football News

Arsenal justified the buzz about potential pre-season improvement with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Two new signings and his one long-awaited Premier League debut only add to the excitement.

Arsenal’s summer seems to have been a practice under increasing pressure. The late-season slip that allowed the rivals to secure Champions League football ahead was followed by a documentary detailing how those events played out.

Putting in a transfer spend of over £100m that seems to have addressed its main weaknesses. Add in some impressive pre-season form, including thrashing Chelsea and Sevilla.

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Watch Free: Highlights from Arsenal’s Premier League victory over Crystal Palace

Based on this evidence, that optimism is validated. Arsenal got off to a strong start and looked sluggish in comparison as they were too fast and too smooth for the Palace side. With the pressure on in the second half, they held on before adding a second goal. It was impressive.

This is not always the case in cases like this one. It was his second straight season as the Gunners started the Premier League season under the lights of Friday night. Last year in the capital they were bullied and beaten by Brentford.

Most recently, Arsenal suffered an even bigger defeat on their final trip to Selhurst Park in April. Losing 3-0 to Palace was a disappointment. Mikel Arteta’s side missed his chance to move up to fourth place in the standings by beating Tottenham with one game left.

Arteta said at the time, “It’s time to take the criticism and raise your hand and apologize, because this performance was not enough for this club. Subsequent defeats to Brighton and Southampton added to the momentum. suppressed. It turned out to be expensive.

Seven of the starting members of the game were the same, but the identities of the newly added members helped change the mood. William Saliba is finally here. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus have his pedigree as Premier League champions.

“We came here full of optimism. The new signing has more energy, quality, leadership and knows how to win football games,” said Aaron Ramsdale. sky sports in advance. “We are all trying to be of the same mindset as them.”

Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew (left) battles Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko for the ball
Oleksandr Zinchenko took some interesting positions in his Arsenal debut

Of course, winning the transfer market is not the same as winning a match, but the acquisition from City and the returning Saliba all played an important part in this victory. It is already clear that they will help Arsenal to be a better team this time around.

Zinchenko positioning

Left-back was a problematic position for Arsenal last season due to Kieran Tierney’s fitness issues. pushed me into action. The arrival of Jinchenko changes that.

Admittedly, the Ukraine international is no ordinary left-back, and that could change quite a bit for Arsenal’s build-up play. His tendency to control possessions on the inside has been a hallmark of his play at Manchester City, and there were signs of it here as well.

Oleksandr Zinchenko's Arsenal vs Crystal Palace touch map

“It’s really funny to see Zinchenko,” Jamie Carragher covered the match sky sports At Selhurst Park. “He gets positions like he did at Man City. Other times, he’s really high and wide. There’s a great mix in his play.”

It was Zinchenko’s positioning that led to the first goal. Ben White’s decision to step forward to the edge of the box and aim for an attacking corner distracted Wilfried Zaha and bought space for Zinchenko to head the ball for Martinelli to score from close range. .

clever move of jesus

Martinelli should have already scored at that point, but that chance depended on the brilliance of Yes. A series of four-minute plays epitomized his game.

Jesus is inspiring and his moves off the ball seem to make everyone around him better. I lacked the will to run.

Gabriel Jesus' Arsenal vs Crystal Palace heatmap

“That’s what he’s going to bring to this team that he didn’t have last season,” Carragher said. “He’s very sharp. He looks like he has something to prove. He’s the star now. Every time he puts the ball around the box, something seems to happen to him.”

Saliba’s solid defense

William Saliba in action against Arsenal against Crystal Palace
William Saliba reassured Arsenal against Crystal Palace

Arsenal still needed good defense to score points, and much of it came from Saliba. Supporters waited to see him in the side after his three years and his three loan transfers.

Pushed to right-back to accommodate the France international, Ben White struggled to contain Zaha. But Saliba was there when White was beaten. His tackle in the penalty box early in the second half was well-timed and absolutely essential.

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace William Saliba stats

The distribution was simple but effective. He had the best passing accuracy on the pitch. He was there when the ball had to leave his head. No Arsenal player has achieved as many clearances as him. “He was very impressive,” said Carragher.

“Even before you’ve seen him play, he looks like a player, he looks like he’s got the part. You’re just looking for the signs. For such a young age, How he handled that second half, helped Ben White a few times and put the ball in the box, he looked like the real deal.”


He needed to do well as it didn’t make it easy for Palace to equalize before Marc Gehi’s ill-fated own goal. Yet another encouraging sign. And Arteta’s words in the build-up to the game proved prophetic.

“We are much closer now,” he said sky sports“We had to undo a lot of things and to change a lot of things around the club it takes time to change teams and people. Match your thoughts.

“It has been very difficult to build the unity and desire to do something special together, but I think we are in the right place and everyone is excited about it.” These new additions do nothing to dampen that excitement.

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Mikel Arteta looks back on Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace

Neville: “Saliba reminds me of Rio”

“Generally, the most important thing for young players is to play football,” said Gary Neville. sky sports.

“I see a lot of players stuck between the first team and the reserves and not playing football.

“Saliba has football in him and I was very impressed with him.

“It reminded me of Rio Ferdinand when he was younger. He’s actually going to be stronger and his body will be more cooperative. He’s still a young centre-back at 21.

William Saliba's Arsenal vs Crystal Palace touch map

“Away from Crystal Palace, it’s one of the toughest away games in the Premier League because they throw everything at us. I can’t give you a moment’s peace

“It’s a big night for Saliba who debuted with such a strong performance.

“Perhaps Arsenal didn’t give their best in that part of the game and a clean sheet in the second half was the most fun tonight for Mikel Arteta.

Saliba “I’m home”

“It was tough, but I’m happy to win today,” Saliba said. sky sports After his Man of the Match display.

“We gave some chances but we were strong and consistent.

“This is the first game. We knew it would be difficult here, so we stayed compact and strong. That is good for the team. It is important to win with confidence.”

William Saliba's pass to Arsenal against Crystal Palace

After signing with Arsenal in 2019, Saliba returned to Saint-Etienne on loan and spent two more seasons in his native France, most recently last season at Marseille.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, so I’m happy to start the first game with a win and a clean sheet.

“I’m young and I need to play, so it helped me to spend two years on loan in France. Now I’m back and I hope I can have a good season.”