Mikel Arteta explained what makes Gabriel Jesus difficult to defend against after the striker’s Arsenal debut ended in a victory that epitomised the mentality their manager wants to see.
Arsenal got off to a winning start in the 2022-23 Premier League season by beating Crystal Palace 2-0. Gabriel Martinelli put them ahead after 20 minutes, getting on the end of a corner routine.
The lead was doubled five minutes before full time when Bukayo Saka’s ball across goal was deflected in by Marc Guehi.
It meant for a positive first result of the new campaign for Arsenal, whose manager Mikel Arteta was able to give debuts to Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and – at long last – William Saliba.
The latter put in a man-of-the-match performance upon his return from a series of loan spells away. His first taste of the Premier League was a positive one and it led to Arteta calling him “superb”.
Striker signing Jesus impressed with his work rate at the opposite end of the pitch. And Zinchenko got the assist for the first goal. Overall, there were some positive signs to take.
Arteta told Sky Sports: “The most important thing is to start the season with a win to build confidence and momentum and then you can think about the things we need to improve on and there were a few of them today.
“The way we started the game, the way we played the first half an hour was superb, and we should have scored another one or two goals.
“Then if you want to win here you have to dig in, you have to suffer, and we did that and that is the mentality that we want to build, to come to these places and to find a way to win and we have done that today.”
Although Jesus went without a goal on his competitive Arsenal debut, he earned admiration for the energy he brought to the forward line.
Arteta, who already worked with him in a coaching capacity at Manchester City before, said: “He has that fear factor. He is always on your shoulder, and he has that ability to get that ball off you.
“He is never standing still, he is always on the move, ready to act, so sharp and it is difficult for defenders to play against him.”
Mikel Arteta hints at plans for further signings
Hence, there were promising things to take from one of Arsenal’s main arrivals of the summer. But could there be more on the way? Arteta hinted the club will try to bring in more new faces before the window shuts on September 1.
He said: “We are going to try. There are a few things we have planned and if we could do them it would be great.
“But we have to focus on the players we have to get the best out of them.”
That was Arteta’s 50th win as a Premier League manager. Arsenal are next in action on August 13 when they face Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.
Patrick Vieira gives Palace view
As for Crystal Palace, there were chances to deprive Arsenal of their clean sheet, that ultimately never came to fruition.
Boss Patrick Vieira thought that was a key difference, leading to a disappointment to start on a losing note.
Vieira said: “The difference between the two teams is that they scored their goals.
“We created good chances to score and we didn’t take them. I am disappointed because I felt we could have scored a couple of goals today even if we didn’t create very much.
“In the key moments we didn’t score that goal to lift the crowd and build momentum, and that is something that we have to work on.”
Palace have 10 days before their next game, away at Liverpool on August 15.