Arteta is right! Signings have Arsenal dreaming of the Champions League

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia Updated: 5 Aug 2022 22:56 BST 3 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 2021/22

Arsenal’s young Gunners delivered a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace in the Premier League curtain raiser, showcasing the impact of their new faces in both attack and defence.

Mikel Arteta spoke prior to the game of Arsenal’s signings elevating the team to a new level and his words were evident in the teams’ performance as they achieved victory without venturing out of third gear.

The Gunners had three debutants in the side in Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus as well as William Saliba, who put in a man-of-the-match performance in his first game since signing in 2019.

With a favourable run of fixtures before the transfer window closes, Arsenal’s new-look side will give them confidence as well as a desire to continue building towards a top-four push.

New faces get the job done for Arsenal

The arrivals of Zinchenko and Jesus from Manchester City appears to have brought a superior mentality to the team, with both players leading by example throughout.

While neither team were at their best in a cagey affair, the duo’s presence provided a much-needed injection of composure for the visitors, helping them see out the victory where previous Arsenal teams may have crumbled.

Jesus was influential in the final third, boasting the most touches in the opponent’s box and causing havoc in the Palace defence with his dribbling.

Zinchenko provided the assist for Martinelli’s opener but the Ukrainian was equally as effective in defence at left-back while also having more touches than any other Arsenal player.

Saliba’s performance, meanwhile, saw him compared to a young Rio Ferdinand by Gary Neville and the 21-year-old showed maturity beyond his years to finally justify why Arsenal spent £27 million on him.

The result marks a dramatic reversal in fortune from this time last year when Arsenal lost their opening league game away at newly-promoted Brentford, prompting the signings of three new players.

Arteta admitted after the game that he was still looking to strengthen his team and, while Arsenal will be satisfied with their performance, their midfield still left much to be desired.

The duo of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka were solid if unspectacular and the reliance on two players who often let the game go past them was apparent in patches in the second half.

The need for a more graceful and experienced midfielder would not have gone unnoticed by Arteta and, unlike last year, the Gunners will likely use their opening result as a platform to strengthen rather than a need to panic.