Saturday, May 25, 2024

Report: Arsenal 2-1 Nottingham Forest (inc goals)

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Timber, Partey, Rice, Odegaard, Havertz, Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah

Subs: Hein, Tomiyasu, Kiwior, Gabriel, Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Vieira, Trossard

Arsenal opened the Premier League season with a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest thanks to goals from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka.

Mikel Arteta started all three summer signings, but surprisingly left Gabriel on the bench for tactical reasons, ending his run of consecutive 73 Premier League starts. Thomas Partey began the game at right back.

The game itself was delayed due to a failure in the club’s new ticketing system leaving tens of thousands of fans outside unable to access the stadium – a 30 minute delay meant a 1pm start.

The Gunners started brightly with lots of early possession against a Forest side that sat deep and stayed compact. With 90% possession it was one way traffic for Arteta’s men, but the visitors had the best chance of the game in the 11th minute when Brennan Johnson beat the offside trap and went through with just Ramsdale to beat – thankfully he put his effort over the bar.

It was tough going for Arsenal, Forest sat 11 men behind the ball all the time, but in the 26th minute we found a way through. Brilliant work from Martinelli saw him take the ball down the left hand side, he did a roulette beyond two defenders, it came to Eddie who took it on, stepped inside, then fired home between the legs of a defender and beyond Matt Turner. 1-0.

Six minutes later and the lead was doubled. Forest were careless at the back, we won the ball, Saliba played to Saka, he took a touch across the box, then curled an unstoppable shot beyond the keeper and into the net. 2-0.

Rice tested Turner with a shot from distance but the former Arsenal man was equal to it, Timber picked up a booking in first half injury time for a foul on Johnson, and picked up in injury in the process too. but the Gunners were good value for the half-time lead.

There were no changes at the break from either manager, but we had to make a sub early in the second period when Timber went down again. It was one of those where he had nobody near him, worryingly it seems as if it was linked to the previous injury. He was replaced in the 50th minute by Takehiro Tomiyasu.

The Japan international was immediately in the action, firing in a shot from distance but it didn’t trouble Turner. At the other end Ramsdale made a save from Yates but the flag went up for offside, and the game was quite flat in general.

Aina saw a shot deflect wide for a corner, before Forest had to make changes to try and get back into it, sending on Williams and Ayoniwi for Aina and Danilo. Arteta responded by putting on Leandro Trossard for Nketiah.

Havertz created a chance for Rice which saw the midfielder draw a super stop from Tuner, tipping the deflected shot onto the post. At the other end, Rice did well to prevent Boly getting full power on a header from a corner, before Forest made another change as Elanga replaced Johnson.

Mangala was booked for a foul on Odegaard, Rice had another chance but didn’t make great contact, but from the resulting corner Forest scored a counter-attack goal through Awoniyi to make it 2-1.

There was another chance instantly when Gibbs-White fired over, and Arsenal seemed a bit rattled. Gabriel came on to replace Martinelli, Saka almost caught Turner with a flicked finish after good work from Odegaard and Havertz, and Forest made two more changes as the game entered 6 mins of added time.

White was booked for not taking a throw quickly enough, and it was nervy stuff in the elongated injury time. There was a late Forest free kick from which they fired over, Odegaard shot over as we broke upfield, and in the end the final whistle went and we begin with three points.


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3 points in the bag! We move.


They stopped playing offensive football when the opportunity was there to finish off Forest. We got away with this one, but it should be a lesson if we want the league.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Made really hard work of that. Don’t seem like we have learnt lesson from last season. Arteta needs to sort this shit out. Kill the fecking game before you going into training mode.


The win is the most important thing, but it is true that we often have a problem finishing off teams. 2-0 is so dangerous. Whilst we had a few half-chances for 3-0, the intensity was missing.

It is the first game though, so that may explain the slight lack of energy levels and movement.


Once they relax into that training mode of knocking the ball around, the energy levels and sharpness never come back.

Joseph Furey

A professional’s eye-view. Mug off, pal

Hair on Ram's Tail

Very frustrating that we appear to not have learned from last season how to finish teams off when up by 2 in the second half.

Lithuanian wet limp gooner

Hair on rams tail and bleeding guns how ee did not learn from past mistakes if we won game? We alleays controlled it apart from 10 minutes. Thats as good as it gets. Clean sheet eould have been admirible. We have to try concede less. But otherwise. We were ticking, we were on top. And on that more good to come!


I don’t know if they stopped playing offensive football. We had quite a few opportunities in the second half, Rice was unlucky not to score and some of Ode’s passes were off by a few centimeters and got intercepted. We’re not quite as sharp nor as fit yet as we were in parts of last season, that’s probably normal to start the season. It’s good to get the win and hopefully we grow from game to game.


Yeah agree, I don’t think we stopped particularly, we were just a bit sloppy for their goal.


how many shots on target we had?


this! why do we let them out of the bag again?


Aside from their good chance early in 1st half we were so dominant in possession that I think the team start taking it for granted. We’ve got a bit of a streak of that against teams like this to be honest. We need to put them to the sword. Still, some wizardry from Gabi and our Captain, Saka stunner (we are witnessing his ascension to rock star status) and we move on. What a shame for Timbo, hope nothing serious. Tomi was superb when he came on. Would love to see more of him at RB. I love Benny but… Read more »


Great win considering we were down to ten men for 90 minutes and you Havertz on the pitch. I’m loath to write anyone off but he’s looked terrible in both games, very lightweight.

He might be handy in Europe but he’s looking like a poor signing, the money should have gone on a big striker who can head the ball.

Glenn Helder's Perm

I mean… he literally is a big striker who, stats show, can head the ball pretty well.

I don’t get all the hate for him. As supporters, we need to rally around him. Is his best position CF? I’m not sure, but I have high hopes for what he can bring to this team.

Good win today, 3 points in the bag. COYG!


The problem is that he solves nothing.
When you buy someone it’s to improve what you already have. He doesn’t improve or get into our starting eleven (IMO). He’s a 65 million squad player which is an absolute waste.


He actually literally does get into our starting eleven though, according to the presumably-more-capable-than-you manager of our team, who decides who is in our starting eleven.


Havertz is 1.93m, he has 68 career goals, 15 of which are headers. You might not like him but at least make a valid point.


Elanga did more than him for the twenty minutes he was on.

Please tell me what he offers which we don’t currently have and I will be very happy to be wrong.

Greg in Seattle

No one needs to do work to disprove your incorrect point.


I’d argue what he offers is exactly what you say we need. He is a big striker who can head the ball.


More of an attacking midfielder who can head the ball, but we didn’t have that either.

One thing I’m getting really tired of is fans not having the slightest bit of patience. Christ people this is his second game for us, he just spent 3 years in a club that sucks out players’ talent like Nosferatu sucks blood, give him some time to get back his confidence and adapt to a new team and system. And he wasn’t even that bad! Had some good moments


Indeed, big guy who can head
the ball is better. He still needs to gain some mass in my opinion, but he does a lot of good unnoticed work. Won the ball back a few times today, I think his link up play is underrated and he nearly got an assist for Saka. Without Xhaka and Zin his left footedness is a real bonus.


You are right!

Joseph Furey

Sadly, he gives you a sense of urgency that you MUST TYPE


elanga played for 20 minutes in a wide position, which requires less concentration and tactical nous, but go on


If we prioritized a “big striker who can head the ball” we’d have made no midfield signings and be in the same position we have been in for the last two seasons as there would be no money left over… then you’d be moaning about elneny in midfield.


Unfortunately I agree Havertz has been missing so far, I simply cannot pinpoint any exceptional moments he’s had,,, but I am hoping he turns out excellent💯. So far this comment is right except it’s early days.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I’m loathe to write that any contributor to this site is a clown. But, you know… Yes stick it up to the big man, tried and tested 🙄


You judge him after one Premiership game?

I thought he did alright and linked up play well.

Der Kaiser

Timber injury had psychological impact

Der Kaiser

Should not have done but I think unintentionally it did


Timber mislaid a few passes before he got injured


after which pretty much everyone mislaid a few passes

dr Strange

A win is a win but the way we made this game exciting is a bit worrying.

Greg in Seattle

Felt like Arteta thought of this as one more game to try an unusual combo without much risk. The whole back line was out of position and it may pay off in time but it will have an impact on the relationships and patterns on-field. I don’t love it and would have preferred to stomp them, use our offensive depth, and bank goals for the inevitable goal diff factor down the road.
That all said, happy for the win. Trossard needs to be on more, IMO.

Tricks Popsicle

First game of the season and you’re stressing out already?! Ffs


After all the talk of new rules concerning dissent, surely Johnson and Yates and the rest should have been booked… but nah, greater manchester work experience refs at it again.


Feels like the new system was working really well until Timber went out. Really hope he’s ok, he’s been so good for us so far and brings so much to the way we play…


Looked like we switched to a 3 back when Tomi subbed in


We started out with 3 at the back. TP5 was just an inverted RB, but played majority of the game in the center

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

That injury was such a stinger. At a guess that’s an injury spanning months rather than weeks but who knows. He looked superb and the injury takes the sheen off the win – on the plus side we have safe options – on the negative side MAs first option is now back up options, and this affects sales… That said we looked impressive at all times today and there’s a plan A, B, C etc


Wonderful 1st half, and lethargic/passive 2nd that almost came back to bite us…Gotta say we are victims of our own style sometimes. Being patient doesn’t mean being passive. But overall, good signs! Odegaard looks somehow better than last season!

Dennis Asiimwe

This was unnecessarily nervy.

I hope the injury to Timber is not too severe…

Heavenly Chapecoense

Very happy for the three points. Perhaps Man U and/or Liverpool won’t get it. But why don’t we trash opposition 4-1 when we can?


The first half was as good as the second was bad.




That’s some good self-awareness

Bleeding Gums Murphy

I agree with you fats. Made very hard work against a super inferior team. At the final whistle I did not come away from the bar in Majorca impressed.

Eric Blair

Only continental lager?

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I thought we were more than comfortable. Unimpressive would be what we have seen in times gone by

Eric Blair

I think that’s a fair assessment. After the signings we’ve made expectations are sky high and that didn’t exactly fulfill them.

I think the reality is that this team is undergoing some quite major changes and it’s going to take some time to iron out all the wrinkles. I’d urge the fanbase to be patient, and I expect the 2nd half of the season to be stronger than the 1st. Probably this won’t be the season for the PL but if we’re well placed in the cups I’d give us a chance at any of them, including the big one.


Hey Fats.

Welcome to the new season mate.

I thought we were ok, actually. Didn’t kill them off, granted, but that will come.


I dont know where or how but Trossard should be starting games sometime soon.

Ponsonby Gooner

We lost something when Timber went off. I think we needed him to execute the game plan / setup we had on the day.

Crash Fistfight

He was barely involved before he went off. I think you’re basing that on the fact he was so good in previous games. I felt sorry for him in the first half – in the previous game he’d been so involved, and in this game nobody passed him the ball for 45 minutes. By the time they did, he was understandably not up to the speed of the game, gave the ball away and then committed the foul that ended up injuring him trying to win it back. All because Mikel has to show off his big brain by putting… Read more »

Eric Blair

Well you’re certainly not showing off your big brain!

Crash Fistfight

Why? All I can see is people downvoting the post without any arguments to say why it is wrong, because people like the shiny new thing. And don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it’s Timber’s fault, but I don’t see what he did in the first half that changed after he came off. I felt like all the changes to personnel and team shape stopped him from featuring. Why, exactly did Saliba play left CB instead of just replacing Gabriel with Kiwior? Especially when Mikel is so adamant (and I think rightly so) that we play out from… Read more »

Rotten Apple

i think MA at the moment is confident with the Kiwior Gabriel pair, and now his searching for another CB combo. He already tested Saliba Kiwior pairing (against Sporting last season, not that good IMHO) and now he wants to test the White Saliba pairing. NFO based their game plan on fast counters and I think White and Saliba are our fastest CB,….so I guess it made sense to try out their combo in this match. For me the match last night felt like Arsenal were playing a pre season game ..the tempo was so slow and there was no… Read more »


Always sitting back after taking a 2 goal lead. Havertz has no confidence to take on a man and just passes back everytime


I did notice he got himself into attacking positions but as soon as he got the ball he’d go backwards or pass straight back so it must just be a confidence thing which I hope he shakes off


He could be so good, he has a presence in the attacking third but his shot is pathetic it has to be said. My 10 yr old nephew gets more power behind his shots. And agree he needs a dose of belief, hoping he gets an early goal or two.


Can’t play 12 minutes of football in a 100 minute match. 2nd half was absolute rubbish. Never cared to get out of second gear.


Considering the 2 goal leads we blew to Liverpool and west ham last season you’d think we would have learned our lesson


A lot of talk will be about Saka and rightfully so, but as usual not enough will be said about Martinelli. The man is an absolute menace and still can improve so much. We’ve got two incredible talents on both wings and both are utter team players who work just as hard tracking back and tackling as on the attacking side


He’s fabulous. If he was English and/or an academy boy he’d be talked about like Saka is. Doesn’t really matter though, as long as he keeps delivering.


This is exactly how I feel. He’s such a talent and so tenacious and hard working and humble. I have no issue at all with how much love and adoration Saka gets, it’s deserved, I just think Martinelli should get the same and it’s rare that he does.

Eric Blair

And they cost us virtually nothing. Incredible.


Breathtaking skill on his assist. He’s the most tenacious attacker in our team and will take on anyone at any time and usually make them look foolish.


We got over the line. Only just. Not to pick on Havertz. But that performance but for a few isolated spells, was worryingly reminiscent of down time Ozil. It’d interesting to see what Arteta does with him over the course of the season.


Timber fell but the Forest was silent.


Lack of chemistry in certain areas, hopefully that comes. A few players looked really tired leading up to their goal, which is a concern at this point. And Havertz was completely peripheral, it’s hard to see what he actually brings.


If partey starts at right back teams will beat us on the counter as shown by the forest goal. Basically had zero intensity in the second half. Hope they learn from that. Now that city are used to playing with haaland they could hit 100 points this season. We have to be better than this. Could have easily dropped points. I hope havertz is better than this.

Odd lineup. Beat city in the shield and our back 4 is changed. Don’t understand the tinkering.


How can we beat them then? 3 points first game , what more,?

Man Manny

That is not our best eleven, and that is a positive. The team will get more cohesive as the season goes. That is the stuff of champions these days.


Great win. Encouraging signs. Bur Arteta’s reluctance to make substitutions is worrying. I thought the whole point of having a deep squad is so that you can maintain the intensity over 90 minutes.

Eric Blair

I think he wanted to allow this group of players as much time as possible on the pitch together.


3 points is 3 points but I don’t think we win the league until we learn to become absolutely ruthless until the final whistle.

Philip Visser

Forest goal – Rice could have done a lot better. Ran half pace and then beaten to the ball when it mattered. I expect more. Team today look experimental as if Arteta still trying out combinations. Win good, performance less so

Fireman Sam

Yeah at that point I was shouting at Rice – “get back!”, “run faster!”. WTF was he doing?! Hope after watching the replay Arteta gives him a stern talking to. “We don’t want to see any more of that token half-arsed jogging behind an opposition attacker as he races toward our goal – either chase properly or don’t bother”.


Poor game management cost us the league last season. Has nothing changed?


Injuries to Saliba and Tommi and having no one of similar quality to replace them, cost us the league last season.


Personally, I’m not expecting anything this season. Whatever happens, I’ll take. Learned from last season, not going to get carried away.


I approve of this result! Well done chaps, get well soon….JT


Lessons not learned from last year as we should have killed them off but instead the fans were whistling for full time. 3 points and let’s hope Arteta rips them apart post match

Eric Blair

Will White lose his place after the Forest goal? Who would replace him?


No one is ‘going to lose their place’ after one game.

You’re going to see a lot more rotation this season, which will inevitably lead to those in the fanbase who STILL cannot grasp the concept of utilising a big squad and basing team selection on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents, moaning, panicking and losing their shit every time a certain player is only on the bench.

It’s the same Numpties crying because we didn’t win 7-0 on Saturday. The three points have flown over their airless heads.


Great result to start the season – three points is all that matters. It will take some time for the team to bed down and kill teams off; a nail biting finish, but I am so pleased the boys dug in and saw the game out. I saw enough in the first half to be convinced that this team are already an upgrade on last season – the passing and dominance was as good as anything we saw during the last campaign. I thought the new lads applied themselves well and I think we will only get better as the… Read more »

El Mintero

Happy happy joy joy. Not. That was a bizarre line-up and tactics. Lucky we were playing forest else we’d have got pumped by anyone half decent.


Heh. Still spouting your usual ignorant bollocks, Minty?

Until Timber had to go off we had 90% possession – yeah, a very bizarre line-up, that.

It’s a squad game now mate and we have a long season ahead of us – but then again trying to explain common sense to you always was a non starter; if you’d had your way Odegaard would now be smashing it up for Real Madrid and Jesus would be plying his trade at Stamford Bridge.


First game of the season. 3 points is all that matters.

Dr. Gooner

If you asked me to predict the score line for this game, I would have said 2 or 3 to 1. We haven’t looked dominant in preseason and this was always going to be a very different kind of test with big expectations. Arteta set us up with as many prolific on the ball technicians as he could squeeze into the back line, plus Martinelli and Nketiah presumably to be more direct. I did think Trossard would have been a better choice than one of those two because of how sharp he has looked and because of his ability in… Read more »

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