Five of Arsenal’s summer signings started the 1-0 win over Norwich, but perhaps the most eye-catching was the decision to give Aaron Ramsdale his Premier League debut.
Bernd Leno hasn’t been brilliant this season, but the defeats against Man City and Chelsea could have been even worse without some of his saves. Nevertheless, Mikel Arteta gave the nod to the £24m former Sheffield United man, and was pleased with how he responded to the occasion.
“I think he was terrific,” said the boss afterwards. “It is not only what he did on the technical side, it is what he transmits, his energy, his chemistry with the backline, how he reacts, his body language.
“I think it was top.”
It sets up an interesting dynamic now, with Leno’s future already under some doubt, it remains to be seen how he will respond, but Arteta was not making anything definitive about that situation.
“We have two fantastic goalkeepers and never forget what Bernd has done for us and what a good goalkeeper he is.
“I had to make decisions and I felt Aaron was the right one to do so and like in any other position, and that is what we decided today.
“I want to see how they perform. Now we need performances and we need to win football matches, so whoever gives better performances and whoever transmits more confidence and is more reliable will play.”
There was another Premier League debutant in the shape of Takehiro Tomiyasu, who was impressive on his first run out in red and white. Again Arteta was happy with what he got from the signing, and explained why he took him off during the second half.
“Really positive,” he said. “Just the first impression when you met him, it was just joy and happiness and good energy.
“The moment he steps on the pitch he was really focused, determined, he understands the role really good. He was cramping.
“Obviously he only trained a day and a half with us, he had to travel, and emotionally it was his first game and we had to take him off.”
It’s just one win, but it’s a small step in the right direction, with Albert Sambi Lokonga, Ben White and Martin Odegaard all impressing today too, perhaps there are some green shoots emerging.