Mikel Arteta praises Arsenal’s resilience after Crystal Palace win

Mikel Arteta lauded Arsenal’s fight in the season’s opening 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, but admitted that much more was needed from its attackers.

The Gunners went into Selhurst Park with all three points, thanks to a first-half Gabriel Martinelli header and their own goal from the late Mark Guehi.

Arsenal dominated early exchanges, but the Eagles challenged Arteta’s side after the restart as visitors failed to create second-half chances in Gabriel Jesus’ competitive debut.

“We need to be more ruthless in front of the target,” Arteta said.

“We had a position to finish them better in the second half as well, but that is something that has to come. We haven’t scored too many goals, we lack that real edge.”

Still, the Gunners boss was pleased with his squad’s overall effort, a marked improvement over their 2-0 loss to Brentford at the start of last season.

Martinelli nearly put Arsenal on the scoresheet early in the first half when the ball landed at their feet on the edge of the six-yard box, but the Brazilian’s effort went well in the face of the goal.

Redemption followed in the 20th minute after finishing highest as opener in front of a crowded goal.

Some expected this to be Jesus’ debut in the limelight, but it was fellow debutante William Saliba who showed the brightest glow in a spectacular turn on the back, making disappointing attempt after attempt by the Eagles to create opportunity.


William Saliba slides to tackle Wilfred Zaha (Adam Davey/PA)

“You don’t really see that,” said his impressed boss.

“At 21 in the Premier League, against these physical players and solve the situation the way he has done it, with that calmness and that presence. Big credit to the boy.”

The game was decided when Bukayo Saka’s 85th-minute cross connected the unfortunate Guhi’s head.

Arteta was happy to finally walk away the winners under the lights of an intimidating Friday night at Selhurst Park, seeing a very different side to the Eagles falling 3-0 in their last meeting in south London.

“I’m really pleased,” he said. “Three points and a clean sheet against a really tough opponent and a really tough spot when they have guys going, and as we expected we would have a tough time during the match.

“You can’t win here without flexibility. We realized that last season we started in a really different way than last season when we were here.

“It is building that mindset and finding a way to get through those moments, maintaining a clean sheet in this league is going to be critical to our success, so hopefully that will instill some confidence in the team as well. .


Patrick Vieira sees his side beaten (Adam Davey/PA)

Meanwhile, Patrick Vieira, the owner of the Eagles, lamented the escape.

The hosts’ best chance came through Eberechi Eze, who found himself face-to-face after receiving a pinpoint pass from Wilfried Zaha but foiled his attempt.

“Today I think the biggest difference is that we didn’t use that chance or at least the chances we created to get a point tonight,” Vieira said.

“We had good pace at times but the story of the game is that we didn’t score that goal to get back in the game. That’s what despair is about today.”

Earlier this week the Palace boss admitted he was “lacking the numbers” and noticed gaps across the pitch.

Whether the solution comes from the transfer window or from within, he said, comes down to the treasure – which would have been boosted by Christian Benteke’s exit from DC United just before Friday’s game.

“We always want to improve the team,” Vieira said. “If we get the right players with the right budget, we will try to do that.

“If not, there are players here who will develop over the course of the season, players who are ready to work hard for the club, and we have to keep challenging those players.”