|Arsenal players celebrate after their resolute defending got them three points at Crystal Palace on Monday after Takehiro Tomiyasu was sent off on the 65th minute of the game. Arsenal won 1-0. (photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
Arsenal once again invited the celebration jury to their party on Monday after beating Crystal Palace away from home at Selhurst Park.
The Gunners were reduced to ten men in the 65th minute after referee David Coote wrongly judged an incident involving Takehiro Tomiyasu and Andre Ayew, and the Japanese was sent off, but replays show the referee made an error.
Improvement is needed, but that can come later in the season. Points are non-negotiable for a team that will make no bones about aiming for the title and keeping pace with Manchester City early on will be key to driving their self-belief.
Each late block, a piece of goalkeeping in stoppage time, was greeted with high-fives and gritted teeth. The full-time whistle sparked first-pumps, a thunderous roar by Aaron Ramsdale at the Holmesdale Road Stand, and Arteta applauding a traveling support gleefully chanting his name.
"I loved it, absolutely loved it," said Arteta after the match. "It's a really difficult place to come; we played the way we wanted to play, 11 against 11. We dominated the game; we created enough chances; we missed two very, very huge chances that normally he [Nketiah] puts away."
Eddy Nketiah missed two glorious chances in the first half. The first, he created by himself after a sleek turn, but he hit the foot of the woodwork, and the second, after a magical Martin Odegaard pass, the young striker chose the wrong option of chipping the goalkeeper, and the ball sailed wide.
Arsenal fans thought it was the manager’s decision to take penalty responsibilities away from Bukayo Saka after Odegaard stepped up to convert from the spot after Nketiah was hacked down in the Palace area by Sam Johnstone, but the manager said he didn’t know about it.
"I had no clue," said the Spaniard. "It's about the leadership of players. If they felt it was the right thing to do, then I'm fine. I was surprised, like everyone else. They did that. He scored the goal, which is the most important thing, and we won the game."
Arsenal’s gritty win despite the numerical advantage of Palace and the hosts’ barrage of attacks meant the Gunners joined Brighton and City as the only teams with 100% records, with the Gunners going third on the log and will be home to Fulham next weekend.