Aaaaand We’re Back!!
Friday night saw us kickstart the new Premier League campaign, but unlike last season, we managed to get the right result this time around. This game was full of high stakes in setting the mood for the rest of the season and seeing how well our new signings had integrated into the squad, we saw Premier League debuts for Jesus, Zinchenko and our MOTM William Saliba. With Champions League football the expectation next season, securing the 2-0 win over Palace, thanks to goals from Martinelli and Saka (ish), was exactly what we needed. As always, our away fans were amazing and were definitely the dominant of the two, with the ‘Super Mik Arteta’ chants ringing around the stadium.
We started the game on the front foot, with Jamie Carragher even saying “It felt like we were watching Man City or Liverpool in that first 20 minutes, half an hour – completely dominating Crystal Palace.” The 20th minute saw a header from Martinelli as a result of a fantastically worked corner after he shot just wide of the post 15 minutes prior; Zinchenko was left unmarked as he put the ball across the face of goal and it was a lucky case of right place, right time for Martinelli to open the scoring. Jesus also played well as he doesn’t play like other “typical strikers”, with his speed and agility, allowing him to participate in the build up, which we saw in the opening half hour.
Our back four put in an amazing shift, notably Saliba who had an absolute dream of a debut, with the best passing accuracy on the pitch at a 94% success rate, and Zinchenko, who successfully completed 12/13 final third passes in the first half; he will be vital to our build up this season. Ben White also had a great game and really tested Wilfried Zaha who struggled to find any space to get a shot away throughout the whole game. The fans went mad for Saliba, with a roaring round of applause following every single tackle he made. The 83rd minute saw a return to the squad for fan-favourite Kieran Tierney, who had his season cut short by 2 months as a result of a knee surgery. It was positive to see him return, and we will hopefully see both him and Tomiyasu starting again in the near future. Ramsdale was forced into a few outstanding saves, but the main take away is keeping a precious clean sheet which will fill our new number 1 with great confidence.
Although there were a million and one positives to take away from the match, the fear of the captain’s curse striking again is still very much alive after a poor performance from our newly appointed captain Martin Ødegaard. It felt as though he was absent for much of the game and he even made the shocking decision to pass the ball instead of shooting in a 1-v-1 situation with Guaita which saw a lot of backlash from fans. The return to fitness of Emile Smith-Rowe and Fábio Vieira will undoubtedly give Ødegaard the push he needs to return to his usual top form.
I think it’s safe to say that after such a promising performance, we have an amazing season ahead of us. With our next game against Leicester City at home on Saturday, hopefully we can get onto a winning streak and continue our strong start to the season. It will be exciting to see more new signings coming in before the end of the transfer window, and Fábio Vieira returning to full fitness. I truly believe we have an exciting season ahead of us, COYG!!!
Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson