Resilience and Ramsdale secures points

Game of stages.

Arsenal flew out of traps, carrying on their sparkling pre-season form.

30th season for the Premier League. 28th season for ANR. This was the earliest start in a top division fixture.

The performance of Ben White in at right back, brought back memories of Brentford on the first day of the season last year. He had a tough time with Zaha, with Anderson’s long balls to the wing the main focus of Palace attacks.

For long periods of this game, it felt Palace would equalise. As the game progressed, Arsenal had a problem with both backs, with Zinchenko on the left, performing better in midfield than in defence. But William Saliba stood strong and dealt well with everything Palace threw at him.

William Saliba – rock at the heart of Arsenal’s defence on debut

Palace had a very disrupted pre-season and the thinking was to hit them early as the likelihood was they would grow into the match, particularly with the home crowd.

Jesus dribbled into the Palace area in the fourth minute beating three players with the ball rebounding to Martinelli, who hit it with his wrong foot and with his heel, seeing the ball go wide.

Arsenal were dominant in first ten. Jesus won a corner off Guéhi. Saka sent a long ball past the far post area, White had distracted Zaha, leaving  Zinchenko unmarked to  head diagonally across the six yard box, where Martinelli connected and Guaita could only parry the effort into the net.

It was all going well, but around the half hour mark, Ramsdale carelessly kicked the ball too near Edouard. It could have gone anywhere, including the net, but although going to relative safety, it was the spark which ignited the team and the crowd, and momentum swung.

Palace used both wings, with Anderson sending 30-40 yard passes with pin-point accuracy for Ayew and Zaha. Saka did some great defensive work nicking the ball off Zaha in a dangerous position near the Arsenal area. His left back experience helping here.

And Palace should have equalised – not justified on the balance of play. From a free kick, Anderson got in between Zinchenko and Gabriel and Edouard headed goalward – but Ramsdale dived and parried it out, grabbing it at the second attempt.

Xhaka dived unnecessarily and got the first yellow of the season, raising questions about an able deputy when he misses matches. Tielemans please! But like Ramsdale before, he redeemed himself, when Edouard bundled his way through the Arsenal defence, was about to pull the trigger, and the Swiss put in a last-ditch tackle.

Palace continued their territorial dominance after half-time. Zaha found Eze with a brilliant through ball after a mistake by White and was through one-on-one but Ramsdale got down well to cover his effort with his legs.

Mitchell brought down Saka on his way into Palace area. Odegaard bent the free kick just wide.

Soon after, Jesus set up Odegaard who dallied instead of pulling the trigger. More practice needed. Similarly, Saka was set away but shot well wide inside the area.

The sparkling attack of the first ten minutes seemed a long way away.

Nketiah came on for Jesus and with five minutes remaining sent a good low ball for Saka who took it on his right and fired across the goal. It hit Guéhi’s head, who was side-on and moving at the point of impact resulting in the ball finding the net.

Tierney came on for Zinchenko and showed defensive class, clearing a dangerous cross – showing Arsenal had a solution for the problems on the flanks.

Arsenal debutant William Saliba, who was excellent at the back said: “ It was hard but we are happy to win today. We were strong and solid and we were good. We knew it would be hard here we stayed compact and strong.

“It has been a long time waiting for this moment.” The Frenchman said his three loan spells had helped. “I am young and need to play.”

“We will make a good season. It is never easy. The first game is important to win.”

Patrick Vieira said that there were key moments in the game where Palace could have scored, but didn’t take their chances. He compared Palace to Arsenal who took their chances when they came along.

Premier League: Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 2

Crystal Palace: 13Guaita, 17Clyne, 16Andersen, 6Guéhi, 3Mitchell, 15Schlupp, 28Doucouré, 9J Ayew, 10Eze, 11Zaha, 22Édouard

Arsenal; 1Ramsdale, 4White, 12Saliba, 6Gabriel, 7Saka, 5Partey, 34Xhaka, 35Zinchenko, 8Ødegaard, 9Gabriel Jesus, 11Martinelli