Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 1: Odegaard penalty secures hard-fought win as Arteta’s ten-man Gunners show steel


RUTHLESS Arsenal confirmed their status as kings of the road as they set down an early marker for the rest of the Premier League.

No team won more away points than Mikel Arteta’s men last season and Martin Odegaard’s 53rd minute penalty was enough to ensure they are carrying on from where they left off in May.

GettyEddie Nketiah was brought down by Sam Johnstone to earn Arsenal a penalty[/caption]

Martin Odegaard scored from the penalty spot to give Arsenal the leadRichard Pelham / The Sun

He sent Sam Johnstone the wrong way from 12 yardsGetty

Takehiro Tomiyasu was sent off for a second yellow cardRichard Pelham / The Sun

It came just eight minutes after he had been cautioned for time wasting at a throw-inReuters

But they had to do it the hard way after Takehiro Tomiyasu’s harsh red card left them to scrap it out with ten men for the final 25 minutes.

The Japanese international had already been booked for taking too long over a throw-in when he was turned by Jordan Ayew as they contested a high ball down the flank.

There hardly seemed to be any contact between the two men but that didn’t prevent Ayew from going down in a heap and waving his arms theatrically as he hit the deck.

And that was enough to convince referee David Coote to reach into his pocket for a second yellow, much to Arteta’s disgust.

But even with the extra man Palace were unable to cash in against an Arsenal team who were unbeaten in all 12 of their London derbies last season and clearly have a taste for lording it over their neighbours.

Palace thought they should have had a spot kick of their own when Eberechi Eze went down over Thomas Partey’s outstretched leg.

But VAR Jarred Gillett ruled Ese had gone down too easily despite the furious appeals from the Selhurst crowd.

It meant another night of utter frustration for Eagles boss Roy Hodgson, who has still not won any of his five managerial battles with Arteta.


Arsenal maintained their perfect start to the Premier League seasonRichard Pelham / The Sun

Arsenal ended the evening with nine defensive players and Kai Havertz all alone up front as they desperately clung on for the points to put them level with early table toppers Brighton and Manchester City. 

And while this was hardly a performance to send shivers throughout the rest of the Premier League, it spoke volumes for their new-found grit and resilience. 

Tomiyasu was only in the starting team because of the cruciate injury suffered by Jurrien Timber during last week’s opening day win against Nottingham Forest.

But Arteta’s biggest selection decision was to keep faith with Aaron Ramsdale despite the recent signing of Spanish international David Raya.

Ramsdale knows that every touch of the ball from now on is going to be the subject of intense scrutiny and could be forgiven for feeling as though everyone is just looking for a reason to drop him.

But if the England keeper was feeling the heat he certainly wasn’t showing it as he constantly barked out instructions to his defence and flew off his line to beat away Ayew’s powerful cross into the danger zone.

With Gareth Southgate looking on from the Selhurst directors’ box, Ramsdale was soon back in action to save at full stretch from Eze.

And he was grateful to see a Cheik Doucoure piledriver whistle past his post as Palace continued to apply the early pressure.

Arsenal were creating lots of pretty patterns with their quick passing game but, as so often, were lacking a cutting edge in the final third.

They thought they had forced a 29th minute breakthrough when Eddie Nketiah rolled Joachim Andersen to give himself a clear sight of goal.

But his low shot came back off the foot of the far post and Palace were soon back on the attack when William Saliba’s terrible touch presented Ayew with another opportunity.

Fortunately for Arsenal’s French international centre-half, he had enough pace to get back and make amends for his mistake with an excellent recovering tackle in the box.

Nketiah spurned another fine opportunity when he was played in by Declan Rice’s excellent first-time pass but cleared the crossbar as he tried to lift his shot over the advancing Sam Johnstone.

But it wasn’t until just before the break that Johnstone was forced into his first meaningful save of the evening when he did well to tip over Odegaard’s rising effort from the edge of the area.

Yet Arsenal were starting to turn the screw and finally secured the goal their dominance merited eight minutes into the second-half.

Gabriel Martinelli’s quick free-kick caught Palace napping and when Nketiah beat Johnstone in a race for the ball he was taken out by the Palace keeper‘s headlong dive.

Ref Coote pointed straight to the spot but it still took a lengthy VAR review before the decision was confirmed.

But captain Odegaard was unfazed by the delay and calmly sent Johnstone the wrong way to confirm his status as Arsenal’s new penalty taker after taking over from Bukayo Saka.

And for all Palace’s bluster after Tomiyasu’s early departure, they were hardly able to test Ramsdale as Arsenal threw an impenetrable wall around their keeper.

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