LONDON ( Associated Press) — Arsenal’s new takeover made an immediate impact as the team beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the first round of the English Premier League on Friday.
Ukraine’s left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko contributed with the opening goal in the first half; Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus created several chances and French defender William Saliba performed almost flawlessly on his debut for Arsenal.
The Gunners faced several dangerous second-half attacks but Palace defender Mark Guhei slammed Bukayo Saka’s cross into his own net for his own goal in the 85th minute.
Arsenal opened the scoring in the 20th minute: Zinchenko received a long corner kick in the field and the ball was passed to Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli, who pushed it from close.
Martinelli was given an opportunity during the opening minutes by his countryman Jesus, who threw the ball into the field. The ball went into Martinelli’s feet but his shot went towards the far post.
“The way we started the game, the way we played the first half hour, I think it was fantastic,” Arsenal’s Spanish coach Mikel Areta said. “We should have scored one or two more runs, but we missed some chances. But if you want to win here, you have to put in the effort.”
Zinchenko and Jesus, who once belonged to Manchester City, were signed to Arsenal during the pre-season break. Saliba, signed in 2019, has spent the last three seasons on loan in his native France. The central defender looked comfortable and confident in his league debut, making significant saves as Palace looked for a draw.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Saliba said. “I am happy to start against zero and with a win.”
Arsenal held the lead thanks to a save from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
In a quick response, the goalkeeper removed a close-range header from France’s Odsonne douard from his hand in the 24th minute, and blocked a low shot from Anglo-Nigeria’s Eberechi Eze in the 54th minute.
“Aaron did an amazing job and won the game for us,” Arteta said.
Arsenal had a better start to the campaign than last season, which was also on Friday night. They then lost 2–0 to newly promoted Brentford and lost the next two games.