Arsenal, with two goals and two assists in his home debut, the July signing electrified the Emirates.
In the middle of Saturday’s exhilarating 4-2 victory over Leicester at a boisterous Emirates Stadium, Edu was spotted beaming broadly as he glanced down at his phone. He had undoubtedly received a barrage of compliments following Gabriel Jesus’ first goal for Arsenal.
The technical director and his prized summer acquisition would soon experience even more success as Mikel Arteta’s team continued its unbeaten start to the new Premier League season with goals from Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal is still very much a work in progress, but the despair that followed the late-season collapse last season has now been replaced with unending optimism, and Jesus is the main cause of this.
This is one of the best home debuts ever. Jesus’ preseason performances were extremely encouraging, and there was always the sense that he was the ideal fit for both Arsenal and vice versa. The striker was under a little pressure to produce, though, after going scoreless in the win at Crystal Palace last weekend. Happily, he succeeded in doing so, occasionally proving to be virtually unplayable. Jesus’ first goal was exquisite, curving the ball into the top corner with barely little back-lift; his second goal was a straightforward poacher’s finish, highlighting exactly what Arsenal lacked in the previous campaign. Obviously, it’s still early in the process, but Jesus and Arteta’s Arsenal seem like a match made in heaven.
Angelo Martinelli of Arsenal
Jesus was the obvious choice for player of the match, but Martinelli came very close to beating his countryman. He did in fact completely torture Wesley Fofana in the first half with his speed and cunning down the left wing. Given that he also scored at Selhurst Park, Martinelli’s goal was due compensation for his brilliant performance. If he can avoid injuries, Martinelli is expected to have a tremendous season.
Just before halftime, Darren England pointed to the spot for what appeared to be a foul on Jamie Vardy by Aaron Ramsdale, giving Leicester a very real chance to get back into the game. The referee was given the chance to evaluate the situation after VAR interfered. Correctly so. Vardy and Ramsdale had little to no contact, if any at all. While well aware that his complaint was pitiful, the striker moaned in silence. He got exactly what he deserved when England correctly overruled his initial judgement and the ‘foul’ was replayed on the big screen shortly after. This was a good illustration of how VAR ought to function.
What a season debut for William Saliba! The Frenchman displayed flawless play against Palace, earning the match’s man of the match award in his debut for Arsenal. However, his second goal, an own goal that he scored early in the second half, cut his team’s lead in half. Saliba’s careless, unneeded mistake of pasting Ramsdale with a long punt was terrible play. The center-back did, however, put in a respectable effort overall, particularly in terms of winning back possession, and he will definitely profit from having realized early in his Arsenal career that the Premier League is characterized by highs and lows that come thick and fast.
Although it seems like a very long time ago, the Northern Irishman was once mentioned in connection. Rodgers has done a fantastic job at Leicester, but after a lackluster summer window. There is an unmistakable sense that things are starting to fall apart. Despite their two goals at the Emirates, the Foxes struggled to stay in the game after a strong start. Only Vardy and James Maddison’s danger kept them in it. Leicester and Arsenal appear to be two teams heading in very opposite paths at the moment. And the same holds true for each manager.
Defense: Arsenal’s rating
Early on, the goalkeeper made a spectacular stop from Fofana to preserve the game scoreless, but even if the penalty that had been issued against him was overturned, he still needs to reflect on why he had rushed out of his goal in the first place. Given that Leicester’s XG was 0.4, he won’t be pleased with his two goals allowed.
He may not have posed nearly the same threat down the right side as Zinchenko did on the left. Hardly unexpected for a player who has spent the most of his Arsenal career at center-back. An average yet reliable performance.
His own goal was the outcome of a lack of awareness, making this week anything but perfect. Additionally, he committed a few unneeded fouls in risky situations, yet despite this, he still won the ball back 10 times, more than any other player on the field.
7/10 for Gabriel
A good showing from the Brazilian, who was also a constant threat from set pieces.
A consistent threat down the left wing, where he frequently made effective passes to Martinelli. He also consistently and effectively stepped into midfield, which led to a handful of threatening counterattacks.
A. Granit Xhaka 2022–2023 Arsenal Leicester
He moved well and competed effectively in the air, but his passing was atrociously bad.
The Swiss player put on an energetic performance, looking to advance at every chance and was rewarded for his exploration with a goal.
Although he was as graceful as ever on the ball and helped in several exhilarating attacks, he may not have been as involved as he would have liked overall.