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Arsenal 2-1 Nottingham Forest: Saka and Martinelli star as Gunners start the season with a win

Arsenal initiated their campaign to seize the Premier League title from Manchester City by securing a narrow victory over Nottingham Forest, thanks to a splendid strike from Bukayo Saka.

Despite a 30-minute delay to kick-off at the Emirates Stadium, Eddie Nketiah and Saka found the net in the first half. However, the hosts couldn’t expand their lead and were later equalized by Taiwo Awoniyi, but they managed to hold on and win 2-1.

An issue with the turnstiles caused the kick-off to be postponed, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiastic atmosphere as Arsenal aimed to surpass their second-place finish from the previous season.

The defeat to Forest in May had dashed their title hopes then, but a repeat outcome seemed unlikely here, especially after Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner – making his debut after joining from Arsenal earlier in the week – had his clearance blocked by Nketiah, resulting in the ball flashing wide.

Forest had already missed a great opportunity, as Brennan Johnson failed to hit the target after being played through.

Forest had a much better response in the second half to the barrage of Arsenal attacks

A moment of brilliance from Gabriel Martinelli set up Nketiah inside the Forest box, and his shot, which took a deflection off Joe Worrall, found the net, giving Arsenal the lead just past the midway point of the first half.

Saka then stole the spotlight, receiving a pass from William Saliba and skillfully curling the ball home to double the lead before half-time.

Despite the positives, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had concerns, as summer signing Jurrien Timber had to exit the game due to what appeared to be a knee injury, only 50 minutes into the match.

The Dutch defender had gone down in pain after committing a foul just before half-time, but he returned for the second half, only to be substituted off shortly afterward.

The second half was mainly controlled by Arsenal, with Declan Rice’s deflected shot forcing a low save from Turner. However, from the resulting corner, Forest rapidly countered, with substitute Anthony Elanga surging down the left and providing the assist for Awoniyi’s goal.

Arsenal held on for the victory, with Gabriel Magalhaes replacing Martinelli to strengthen the defense as Forest introduced players like Chris Wood in a late attempt to salvage a draw.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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