Crystal Palace 0-1 Arsenal: Odegaard's penalty earns Gunners victory08/26/2023
Crystal Palace 0-1 Arsenal: 10-man Gunners cling on to victory at Selhurst Park to maintain winning start as Martin Odegaard slots the only goal from the spot before Takehiro Tomiyasu red card
- Martin Odegaard sent Sam Johnstone the wrong from the spot after the goalkeeper fouled Eddie Nketiah
- Arsenal held on to their narrow lead after defender Takehiro Tomiyasu was sent off for two bookable offences
- WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 2 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show
We may be just two games into the new season, yet the manner of this victory for Arsenal possessed an air of significance.
They weren’t at their best and won. They were made to play the final 22 minutes with 10 men after Takehiro Tomiyasu foolishly picked up two red cards in seven minutes still left Selhurst Park with three points.
What is it they say about football teams that win matches without being at their best.
Of course, there’s a long way to go before we can genuinely categorise Arsenal as Manchester City’s closest rivals.
But the signs are ominous. With their backs against the wall here at Crystal Palace they clenched their fists, they stuck their chests out, they stood tall. They won. Even at this early stage it felt crucial.
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard sent Sam Johnstone the wrong way from the penalty spot to give his side a second half lead
Referee David Coote had pointed to the penalty spot after Johnstone brought down Eddie Nketiah after racing from his goal
Arsenal’s players celebrated the final whistle after grinding out a hard fought victory after being reduced to 10-men
Buoyed by opening day victories, there was an air of optimism from both teams ahead of this Monday night showdown.
Of course, these clubs have contrast aspirations for the season. Arsenal believe they’ll be going blow-for-blow with Manchester City for the for the title again; while Palace – as much as they’d be loathed to admit it – would be happy with finishing clear of the relegation zone.
Mikel Arteta, for the second game in succession, omitted Gabriel Magalhaes from his starting XI as speculation over his future at the club grows.
There has been interest in the Brazil international from Saudi Arabia, while sources close to the player suggest he is among the candidates being considered by Real Madrid as they look to replace long-term injury absentee Eder Militao.
But with 10 days left to run, selling the virtual ever-present would leave a gaping hole in Arsenal’s squad that they’d be hard-pressed to fill like-for-life at this late stage in the window.
Not that the Gunners started this encounter appearing to miss their dominant central defender, carving out the first opportunity inside two minutes – Gabriel Martinelli seeing his shot block from Kai Havertz’s pass following a prolonged sequence of possession from the Gunners.
That pattern continued throughout the opening exchanges; Arsenal popping the ball around with relentless verve as Palace chased shadows.
Not that Roy Hodgson would have been too alarmed, of course. He’d have been under no illusion of who would have the lions share of the ball here.
Arsenal’s narrow advantage had been threatened when Takehiro Tomiyasu was shown a red card for two bookable offences
Nketiah had been denied by the woodwork in the first half after the Arsenal forward shot goalwards from a tight angle
The Arsenal striker then scooped an effort over the crossbar with just Johnstone to beat following Declan Rice’s incisive pass
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-3-3): Johnstone 6; Ward 6 (Rak-Sakyi 83), Guehi 7, Anderson 6.5, Mitchell 7; Lerma 6.5, Doucoure 6.5, Ayew 6.5, Eze 6.5, Schlupp (Ahamada 74) 6.5; Edouard 6.
Subs: Matthews, Tomkins, Clyne, Richards, Gordon, Riedewald
Booked: Ayew, Doucoure
Manager: Roy Hodgson 6
ARSENAL (4-3-3): Ramsdale 6.5; Partey 7, White 7.5, Saliba 7.5, Tomiyasu 5; Rice 8, Odegaard 7 (Zinchenko 89); Saka 6.5 (Kiwior 89), Havertz 6.5, Martinelli 6.5 (Gabriel 70); Nketiah 6 (Jorginho 77).
Subs: Raya, Smith Rowe, Trossard, Vieira, Nelson
Goals: Odegaard 53′ pen
Booked: Tomiyasu, Havertz
Red cards: Tomiyasu
Manager: Mikel Arteta 7
Referee: David Coote 6
And after watering the early storm, Palace eventually settled with their goal intact.
Who knows, had Ben White not produced a crucial block to deny Odsonne Edouard or if Aaron Ramsdale wasn’t equal to Eberechi Eze’s effort in the 17th minute then Palace may even have edged ahead.
That said, without Wilfried Zaha and Michael Olise this Palace attack lacks a certain degree of creativity.
Their attacking output will unquestionably sharpen once Olise, whose proposed move to Chelsea collapsed last week amid a messy backdrop of ‘tapping-up’ concerns behind the scenes, returns from a long-term hamstring problem.
Having lost attacking talisman Zaha on a free transfer to Galatasaray last month, the return of winger Olise cannot come soon enough for Hodgson.
Yet despite the apparent lack of a spark in the final third, on the evidence of the opening 25 minutes here, Palace have enough in the locker to cope without him.
Much of that is down to Hodgson’s undeniable skill of organising a football team. Without vast sums of money to improve the Palace squad, Hodgson could yet be the club’s biggest weapon in avoiding a relegation battle this season.
They were, however, dealt two quickfire reminders of the perils of Premier League football here when Eddie Nketiah missed to opportunities to fire Palace ahead.
Arsenal survived Crystal Palace penalty appeals when Eberechi Eze fell in the box after under pressure from Thomes Partey
Eze appealed for a penalty but a VAR check stuck with referee David Coote’s on pitch decision to turn down the claims
Gabriel Magalhaes was brought on by Arteta to preserve their lead despite the defender being linked with a move away
Crystal Palace pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages of the match but Arsenal’s defence stood firm under pressure
First, he struck the inside of the post with a slide rule finish after neatly turning Joachim Anderson after Palace lost possession deep inside their own half before scooping over the ball with just Sam Johnstone to beat following Declan Rice’s incisive pass.
And as the first-half drew to a close Arsenal turned screw, Johnstone tipping Martin Odegaard’s vicious effort over the bar just before the break.
So, with in mind, it wasn’t like Palace weren’t warned of what was to come as Arsenal took the lead through Odegaard’s 54th minute penalty.
Johnstone should have no complaints; he was late in trying to divert the ball ahead of Nketiah, who duly crashed to the floor upon connection with his ankle.
Hope of a VAR reprieve for Palace keeper were short lived, Jarred Gillet deciding Thomas Partey hadn’t committed a foul in the lead up to Johnstone’s ill-fated lunge.
Odegaard did the rest, sending Johnson the wrong way to give Arsenal a lead they’ll argue was deserved. On the balance of play, it probably was.
Arsenal maintained their winning start to the Premier League season after preserving their clean sheet under pressure
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta celebrated the hard fought win at the final whistle after negotiating a challenging away trip
Palace, though, continued to hang tough and were dealt a huge boost in the 67th minute when Takehiro Tomiyasu was sent off for a second yellow card.
It was the Arsenal defender’s own fault, why he felt it was necessary to pull back Jordan Ayew when just seven minutes earlier he’d been booked for time-wasting, only the Japan international will know.
You’d imagine his manager, whose immediate reaction was to introduce Gabriel, will demand answers after his team was left to battle through with a numerical disadvantage.
Ayew missed a golden close range chance before Arsenal survived a VAR penalty check after Eze fell inside the box after under pressure from Partey.
But Arsenal, for all of Palace’s huffing and puffing, held on to maintain their 100 percent start to the season.
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
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