Premier League: William Saliba stars in Arsenal’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace

Arsenal’s newcomers made an immediate impact as they opened the Premier League with a 2-0 win at home to Crystal Palace.

Left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko set up the opening goal in the first half, while striker Gabriel Jesus created a number of chances and defender William Saliba made an impeccable debut at Arsenal.

Arsenal still had to endure a tense second half before Bukayo Saka’s attempt collided with a cross by Palace defender Marc Guehy in the 85th minute.

Arsenal took a good corner kick in the 20th, when Zinchenko met a long shot in the area and shot it across the goal towards Gabriel Martinelli, who nodded with the ball from close range.

Martinelli should have scored in the opening minutes after a raging streak of Jesus, who dribbled his way into the penalty area before the ball veered in the way of his Brazilian teammate, who smashed his shot wide of the far post.

“The way we started the game and the way we played in the first half hour I think it was fantastic,” Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said. “We should have scored one or two more goals, we missed some chances. But (if) you want to win here, you have to dig.” Zinchenko and Jesus joined from Manchester City in the off-season while Saliba signed in 2019 but has spent the last three seasons on loan in his native France. The central defender looked calm and confident on his debut in the league, making key tackles and shocks while Palace chased the equaliser.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Saliba said. “I am very happy that I started with a clean sheet and a win.” Arsenal also needed two good saves from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to maintain the lead.

Ramsdale initially reacted swiftly to header from close range Oddson Edward in the 42nd minute, then fell low to block Ibri Izzi’s shot in the 54th minute.

“Aaron did incredibly well and won the match for us,” Arteta said.

For Arsenal, they had a much better start to the season than last year, when the season also opened on Friday night but fell to rookie Brentford 2-0 and lost the next two games as well.

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