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Arsenal opens EPL with 2-0 win at Crystal Palace

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LONDON (AP) — Arsenal’s newcomers made an immediate impression as they opened the English Premier League with a 2-0 win over hosts Crystal Palace on Friday.

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Left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko scored the first goal of the first half, striker Gabriel Jesus created several chances and defender William Saliba produced a nearly flawless performance in his first start for Arsenal.

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The Gunners still had to endure a nervous second half before Bukayo Sako’s cross was deflected into his own net by Palace defender Mark Gehi in 85th.

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Arsenal took the lead from a well-placed corner in the 20th when Zinchenko met a long cross into the box and headed back through the net to Gabriel Martinelli, who nodded at close range.

Martinelli should have scored in the opening minutes after a furious run by Jesus, who feinted the free-kick before the ball was deflected in the path of his compatriot, the Brazilian, who shot wide of the far post.

“The way we started the game, the way we spent the first half hour, I think it was excellent,” said Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta. “We should have scored one or two more, we missed a few chances. But (if) you want to win here, you have to dig in.”

Zinchenko and Jesus signed from Manchester City in the off-season, while Saliba was signed in 2019 but spent the last three seasons on loan in his native France. The centre-back looked composed and confident on his league debut, making key interventions and blocks as Palace tried to level the score.

“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Saliba said. “I’m so excited to start with a clean slate and win.”

Arsenal also needed two good saves from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to keep the lead.

Ramsdale reacted quickly at first to a close-range header by Odsonne Edouard in the 42nd minute before dropping lower to block Eberechi Eze’s in the 54th minute.

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

It was a much better start to the season for Arsenal than last year when they also opened the campaign on Friday night but lost 2–0 to Brentford and lost the next two games.


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