Arsenal got their 2023/24 campaign off to a winning start as they beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
e-ticketing woes meant kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes, and it took the Gunners some time to get going after the game eventually got underway. Brennan Johnson spurned a glorious early chance to put the visitors ahead, and he was made to pay when Eddie Nketiah crashed home Arsenal’s first goal of the season after some excellent work from Gabriel Martinelli.
Bukayo Saka then doubled the hosts’ lead with a majestic strike from distance to get his season up and running.
The Gunners enjoyed the lion’s share of possession after the restart, but there was little by way of clear-cut opportunities. Thus, with Mikel Arteta’s side failing to kill the contest off, Forest found a route back into the contest via substitutes Anthony Elanga and Taiwo Awoniyi, who combined superbly in transition to halve the deficit.
A nervy conclusion then ensued, with seven minutes being added on, but the home side clung on for all three points.
Arsenal 2-1 Nottingham Forest player ratings
Here are the Arsenal player ratings from their victory over Forest.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 5.5/10 – Wasn’t a busy outing at all. Beaten at close range late on.
Thomas Partey (RB) – 7/10 – Spent almost all of the contest in midfield, and once again looked at ease. Saw plenty of the ball and kept things ticking over. Less successful over bigger distances. Very good in defensive transition.
Ben White (CB) – 6/10 – Wasn’t tested too much defensively, but he was beaten by Awoniyi to the near post for Forest’s goal. Arsenal’s overload in the build-up often gave White an eternity in possession. Successfully got on the overlap twice in the first half.
William Saliba (CB) – 6.5/10 – There were a couple of sloppy moments in the opening exchanges, but Saliba quickly found his groove. Stellar recovery defending when Forest attempted to counter.
Jurrien Timber (LB) – 6.5/10 – We’re going to see Timber perform better in possession, but he was excellent at recovering possession after it’d been lost. Booked just before the break, and a knee injury forced an early withdrawal.
Continued on the next slide…