Mikel Arteta said Arsenal had “to suffer” as his players withstood a barrage of pressure from Crystal Palace on their way to a 2-0 win on the first day of the new season.
Gabriel Martinelli’s header have the Gunners the perfect start midway through the first half and the points were wrapped up in the closing stages when, against the run of play, Marc Guehi headed into his own net.
After the match, Arteta faced the Sky Sports cameras. Here’s what he had to say.
On the most pleasing part of his evening…
The win. Obviously starting the season, the most important thing is to win the first match, it builds confidence, it builds momentum and then you can talk about the things we have to improve, which, there were a few today, to be honest.
On Saliba being awarded man of the match…
Rightly so. He was superb tonight again. The way we started the game, the first half an hour, was superb. We should have scored another one or two, we missed some chances and then, if you want to win here, you have to dig in. We had to play in moments, the game we don’t want to play. They put four very physical players on our last line and they had the ability to turn our press all the time. From there, you have to manage that game and that’s not easy to do because they are so good at doing that.
On Jesus making a fast start…
We started really sharp. That’s the game we wanted to play but for long periods, especially in the second half, listen, to win here, you have to suffer. We’ve done it and that’s part of the mentality we want to build, to come to these places and find a way to win in it at the end. We’ve done it today.
On who takes credit for Arsenal’s set piece goal…
It was one of the set piece coaches that created the routine, yes. We practiced it yesterday.
On Saliba’s stature…
You need the right balance. Physicality in this league is something that you cannot come short, if you do, you’re going to be exposed, you have to be able to deal with certain games and certain opponents who demand so much in that aspect. Those two [Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes], they are really well built and they give us a different edge. The same with Ben [White] to have another player in the backline with that size is something really important in these type of matches.
On withstanding the pressure…
That’s the resilience we need to win football matches and see football matches through. We had some moments when you need your goalkeeper. To be honest, they had the biggest chance in the game, that one-vs-one [Eze and Ramsdale] and he did incredibly well. He won the game for us.
On Jesus making a difference with his pressing…
[He has] the fear factor. He’s always on your shoulder, the ball is bouncing, the fifty-fifty ball, he’s always had that intuition, that ability to get the ball off you. He’s never standing still, he’s always on the move, he’s always ready to act, he’s so sharp. For a defender, it’s difficult to play against him.
On whether Arsenal might sign more players…
We are going to try. There are a few things that we planned that if we can do them, it would be great. Now it’s work with the players that we have, we’re in the middle of the season already and the focus should be with the players that we have to get the best out of them.
On whether he can name targets…
Not yet! You [Carragher] are in detention.
Interviewer – How fucking good is Saliba?
Arteta – The team played outstanding.
I think Arteta did the sensible thing and not hype up Saliba too much and put too much pressure on him. The media and fans have already praised Saliba a lot and rightly so.
Saliba and Gabriel caused ayew to have that thousand yard stare. Imagine running at those two absolute units. Crystal players kept noping the eff out!
Cmon now Lego man, let’s get these chaps signed on new contracts and bring in some quality reinforcements.
For a team that wants to dominate play technically, we sure do well with set pieces. How did everyone think we were physically against Palace? It’s really tough against them in that regard, so set pieces will be crucial, if only we had a Giroud meaty forehead for them as well.
Midfield reinforcements sorely needed. Xhaka looked tired and out of his depth at times there. Chasing shadows.
A two-footed, two-way number 8 is an absolute priority for me.
And we may well be facing up against our prime target next weekend.
Tielemans to replace Xhaka in midfield and I would be delighted
Tielemens and Xhaka rotated for fitness is a better option. Xhaka was solid today. . Good gritty performance tonight. COYG!!!
you realise the number of two footed number 8s is absolutely minimal and the ones there are cost an absolute bomb and on everyones radar
Not just a midfielder: we need a right-back and a third striker too.
Arteta needs to move quickly now and make those signings before the window closes.
Top four is on if we buy players
We don’t have unlimited funds. We’ve already spent more than £100m for the second summer in a row.
There’s just no way we will sign a right-back when we have 4 players who can play there.
A third striker, personally I don’t see it either.
I would like Tielemens but when Xhaka and Lokonga can play #8, Mikel will need to decide whether we ‘want’ him or ‘need’ him.
Even if we don’t make another signing, we still have a squad strong enough for top 4.
I think Zinchenko made it pretty obvious he can play in those areas as well. A fully fit Tierney vastly increases our options in those “left-8” areas, just like a fully fit Tomiyasu does the same in the right side of defense.
We’re one of the biggest and best supported teams in the world. Stop with the we can’t afford it shit. You were fed that crap about
the new stadium. Let the moral high ground crap go. Our owners have more money than Abramovich. Our owners wife has more money than abramovich. They will spend the money, they are sitting on a massive cash cow.
Our owner is richer than Abramovich, our owners wife is richer than abramovich and Stanley combined. We have unlimited funds. And I think they’re willing to
Well, we need to renew Saka and Saliba before doing anything else.
Zinchenko looks like he’d do a very good job there, can’t keep him at full back going up against real pace or he’ll continue getting skinned.
Actually Xhaka was excellent today and was far from out of his depth. Apart from his silly dive he was very impressive and as usual his passing was superb. I honestly am not sure if you really watched him.
Forget Xhaka, we need a replacement for Partey, not just becuase of his injury record, but the reaction to his every touch, this could be a really long season.
That will hopefully stop by the end of the month. As far as I know, it doesn’t happen with Bissouma.
Xhaka was our best player after Saliba. But I agree we need another body/option in midfield.
He doesn’t even have to be two footed like Santi, just able to use his weak foot for anything other than standing.
What really does my head in with Xhaka, is the amount of times he slows play down because he moves the ball in stages and takes too long to process what’s going on.
We’ll never be where we want, with Xhaka as a starter
Arsenal players should learn how to catch / hold the ball, how to share/ pass the ball, how to get a chance or place. In fact Crystal Palace is better at individual performance.
That’ll be why we won.
It’s a team game you know…
Oh do piss off mate
They probably don’t need to learn to catch. That’s not really how the game is played. I read comments like this and I wonder if some people take any joy out of watching. Nothing is perfect, enjoy the moment.
Great team performance and a great win! Could have easily been 4-0
The pace of that game was insane….CP gonna beat alot of teams this year..
Totally agree I don’t think for a minute the other 5 teams challenging us for top 4 will all win at sellhurst park
That’s the Premier League in general, it seems to get faster every season.
I hope we sign a quality midfielder.
The amount of times Xhaka slows play down with too many touches and taking too long to process what’s happening around him will cost the team, throughout the season
Like.many arsenal fan ,did you watch the match then,xhaka wasnt even close been the problem today .
he was actually good,partey was piss poor second half but your lot jump on xhaka,
Don’t get me wrong we could do better than him but player like tielsman get overrated and xhaka has been better than the belgium guy get last 18 month by far,meanwhile partey get away with some really dreafull performance
Yes I watched the match. Xhaka was good enough, but his flaws were there to see. I’m sorry if I offended you
Xhaka was actually very good imo.
However we probably can’t get away with Ode-Xhaka as dual 8s all the time. CP’s superior mf athleticism put them on top in the 2nd half.
We need another striker, the scouting department needs to unearth another Robert Lewandowski, a No. 9 who will hold the ball, move fast and pass, we still need a backup for Partey, a Yaya Toure who can take the ball from defense to offence, and perhaps a backup to Saka, Pepe is out and Reiss is not there. Would like us to finish 3rd minimum and win a trophy – Europa or Carabao or FA. I can see this squad challenging for the premier league with Arteta, the bridge between Liverpool and City can be closed with these signings. Would… Read more »
Yup. We don’t score enough goals. We never have last 3 seasons. Simple as that! Relying on Jesus and Eddie to remedy that is ridiculous. Get another striker in there asap. No way Eddie gets more than 10 goals this season. Jesus picks up a knock then we’re fkd as usual.
We need to add a high quality athletic mf who can play 6 or 8, and another forward.
Ideally Sambi develops quickly this season.