Arsenal’s season got off to a winning start as the Gunners beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the Emirates on Saturday.
Eddie Nketiah scored Arsenal’s first goal of the campaign with a tidy finish after an incredible piece of skill by Gabriel Martinelli. Bukayo Saka then made it two with an absolute thunderbolt into the top left corner after cutting in from the right, à la Robben.
Taiwo Awoniyi halved the deficit from an Arsenal corner, with Anthony Elanga spearheading the Forest counter-attack. It made the end of the game nervy for Arsenal fans but the team kept hold of the ball in the final minutes and saw the game out in commanding fashion.
5 standout players in opening day victory
The Gunners began the game a bit slowly but started firing on all cylinders in the latter part of the first half. Mikel Arteta will not be happy conceding a goal from an Arsenal corner but overall, it was a good win with some impressive individual performances. Here are five that stood out to me.
1. Bukayo Saka
Without a doubt, the best player on the pitch and deservedly named the Man of the Match. Saka will be the first name on the Arsenal team sheet for any game that he is fit and it’s incredibly easy to see why.
Saka was fantastic all game long, offering a great outlet for the defence while prodding and probing Forest’s defence. A couple of early right-footed crosses had Forest’s new signing Ola Aina scrambling and it set the scene for Saka to cut in on his left.
His goal was sensational, a curling effort that flew into the Forest net. The technique was perfect and it left ex-Gunner Matt Turner with no chance. Boasting the ball retention of a Jack Grealish but the directness and desire to take on players of a Vinicius Jr, Saka is an absolute weapon.
He was a nuisance all game and he looked so mature on the pitch. Arsenal’s starboy might just cement himself as the best right winger in the world this season. A bold shout but one that I believe in.
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