Arsenal started their Premier League season with a nerve-racking 2-1 triumph at home against Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Goals from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka in the first half were cancelled out by Taiwo Awoniyi late on, but the victory still lifted the runners-up from last season to the same points tally as leaders Manchester City, who had won 3-0 against Burnley on Friday. There was a hold-up of 30 minutes for the kick-off due to turnstile trouble at the Emirates Stadium, yet when the game began Arsenal were quickly on top, holding the majority of possession and getting past Forest’s defence. This was demonstrated when Brennan Johnson had an opportunity to shoot, but he sent it over, leaving the manager, Steve Cooper, with his hands on his head. Arsenal made their pressure pay off when Gabriel Martinelli did a pirouette that put two defenders in knots, setting up Nketiah to score past Matt Turner (previously of Arsenal). Saka extended the lead six minutes later, firing in from the edge of the box, leaving Turner no chance of a save. In the second half, Arsenal’s new recruit Jurriën Timber had to be taken off after receiving a knock just before the break. Declan Rice, the most expensive signing in Arsenal’s history, then had a couple of attempts at goal, but Turner denied him both times. Forest then scored against the run of play when they went on the counter-attack from an Arsenal set-piece, and Anthony Elanga fed Awoniyi in the box to make it 2-1. The final few minutes were frenzied at either end, but the home side eventually kept hold of the three points. “We defended really well and we deserved the three points,” said Nketiah.
💬 “You want to start well and we’ve done it, and I think we’ve done it in a really convincing way, even though at the end, because of that goal we conceded, we made it a little bit harder than we should have for ourselves."— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 12, 2023
The boss has his say on our season opener 👇