Mikel Arteta salutes Arsenal’s resilience after beating Crystal Palace

Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s season-opening 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, but acknowledged that much more was expected of his strikers.

The Gunners left with all three points at Selhurst Park thanks to a first-half header from Gabriel Martinelli and a late own goal from Marc Guey.

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

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

“We had the situation to finish them better, even in the second half, but this is what has to happen. We didn’t score many goals, we lacked a real advantage.”

However, the Gunners boss has been pleased with his team’s overall effort, which is markedly better than their 2-0 loss to Brentford at the start of last season.

Martinelli nearly scored against Arsenal early in the first half when the ball landed at his feet on the edge of the penalty area, but the Brazilian’s shot went wide of the net.

Redemption followed after he climbed the highest to nod in the first leg in front of a packed goal in the 20th minute.

Some expected it to be Jesus’ start in the spotlight, but fellow debutant William Saliba shone brightest in a brilliant rear turn, derailing the Eagles’ attempts to create opportunities.


William Saliba slips to catch Wilfrid Zaha (Adam Davy/PA)

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

“At 21 years old in the Premier League against these physical players and handle the situation the way he did, with such composure, calmness and presence. Great merit of the boy.

The game was decided when a cross from Bukayo Saka in the 85th minute hit the unfortunate Gehi in the head.

Ultimately, Arteta was delighted to walk away victorious under the intimidating lights of a Friday night in Selhurst Park, looking very different from the one who lost 3-0 to the Eagles in their last meeting in South London.

“I am very pleased,” he added. “Three points and a draw against a very difficult opponent and a really difficult place when they have people and as we expected we would have difficult periods during the match.

“You won’t win here without stamina. We experienced it last season, we started very differently from last season when we were here.

“Creating that mentality and finding a way to get through these moments, keep a clean sheet in this league, will be vital to our success, so we hope it will also give some confidence to the team.


Patrick Vieira saw his side beaten (Adam Davey/Pennsylvania)

Meanwhile, Eagles boss Patrick Vieira regretted the asylum.

The hosts’ best chance was with Eberechi Eze, who went heads-up after receiving an accurate pass from Wilfried Zaha but failed.

“Today I think the biggest difference is that we didn’t take this chance or the chances we created to even score a point tonight,” Vieira said.

“At times we had really good momentum, but the history of the game is that we didn’t score that goal to get back in the game. That’s where the disappointment is today.”

Earlier this week, the Palace boss admitted he was “missing in numbers” and saw gaps all over the field.

Whether the decision comes from within or within the transfer window, he said, it all depends on the treasury, which will be boosted by the departure of Christian Benteke to DC United shortly before Friday’s game.

“We are always looking to improve the team,” Vieira added. “If we find the right players with the right budget, we will try to do it.

“If not, then there are players here who will grow over the course of the season, players who are willing to work hard for the club and we must continue to challenge these players.”