Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has praised his side’s fight in their Premier League season-opening 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Friday night.
The Gunners snatched three points at Selhurst Park thanks to a first-half Gabriel Martinelli header and a late Marc Guehi’s own goal.
Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges but the Eagles challenged Arteta’s side after the restart as the visitors failed to create second-half chances in Gabriel Jesus’ competitive debut.
“We need to be more ruthless in front of goal,” Arteta said.
“We had a situation to finish them better, even in the second half, but that’s something that has to come. We haven’t scored a lot of goals, we lacked that real edge.”
Still, the Gunners boss was pleased with his squad’s overall effort, a marked improvement over their 2-0 loss to Brentford at the start of last season.
Martinelli nearly put Arsenal on the scoresheet early in the first half when the ball landed at his feet on the edge of the six-yard box, but the Brazilian’s effort sailed well wide across the face of goal.
Redemption followed after he rose highest to nod in the opener in front of a crowded goal in the 20th minute.
Some expected this to be Jesus’ start under the spotlight but it was fellow debutant William Saliba who shone brightest in a brilliant turn at the back, frustrating attempt after attempt by the Eagles to create opportunities.
“You don’t see that,” said his impressed boss.
“At 21 years old in the Premier League, against these physical players and resolve the situation the way he’s done it, with that composure, that calmness and that presence. Big credit to the boy.”
The game was decided when Bukayo Saka’s 85th-minute cross-connected with the head of the unfortunate Guehi.