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Premier League 2023/24: Nketiah, Saka Shine As Arsenal Get Away With Nervy 2-1 Win Over Nottingham Forest – News18


Curated By: Siddarth Sriram

Last Updated: August 12, 2023, 19:47 IST

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, right, celebrates with teammate Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah after scoring. (Credit: AP)

Arsenal weathered the storm and pulled off a nervy win to start off their new campaign. But, Nottingham Forest can return back home with their heads up high after their valiant effort to oust the dominant North London side.

A win is a win. Well, that is what Mikel Arteta will be telling himself as Arsenal salvaged a nervy 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on their first matchday of the new campaign.

The start of Arsenal’s opening Premier League game against Nottingham Forest was delayed by 30 minutes on Saturday after a problem with the turnstiles at Emirates Stadium left thousands of fans unable to get in on time.

Also, the Gunners weren’t necessarily at full strength as striker Gabriel Jesus was left out of the squad altogether owing to a minor injury. But, it was bound to be an exciting day for the likes of many others such as Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber, who were making their debut for the North London side.

Arsenal started off the game looking like the title contenders they are touted to be. Forest dropped back in deep into their defence and frustrated Arsenal’s attack who seemed to have hit a dead-end for a good while, despite persistent chances and corners flooding into the box.

A desperate Forest had one glimpse of goal when an aerial duel plopped the ball right in position for forward Brennan Johnson to take a run by himself, yet he failed to capitalise on the golden opportunity.

After the missed chance, it was all Arsenal throughout the game.

Upon understanding how Forest were operating, Arsenal decided to let loose and let the individual talent overwhelm the opposition. Players began to play more freely and in the 20th minute, a moment of Brazilian flair opened the account for Arsenal.

Forward Gabriel Martinelli took it upon himself to take on the menacing resistance and provided a sublime assist with a skilful pirouette to put the ball right in place for Eddie Nketiah to slot it into the back of the net.

From then onwards, there was nothing Forest could do. The Gunners just started toying with the defence, making cutting passes, and menacing crosses into the box as they ate up the possession.

And once again in the 33rd minute, it was Bukayo Saka who reaffirmed Arsenal’s dominance with an absolute pearler from the outside of the box into the top corner of the net to make it 2-0.

The Gunners had to take a little demotivating hit in the beginning of the second half as new signee Jurrien Timber had to limper off the field with an injury, and was subbed off for Tomayasu.

But, that barely fazed them as they just kept on taking it to Forest throughout the second half as well.

Declan Rice started to take his chances as he troubled Matt Turner a couple of times to no avail.

But, when Forest brought in new signee Anthony Elanga, the tides changed as the youngster broke through the left flank all by himself to put an assist in on a plate for forward Taiwo Awoyini to tap in and bring one back for Forest in the 82nd minute.

An air of chaos started to engulf the Emirates as Forest used the momentum they gained from the goal to come back to life and press up on the Gunners.

In an attempt to gain some composure and slow down the pace, manager Mikel Arteta brought in defender Gabriel in place of forward Gabriel Martinelli, to no avail.

Additional time was peppered with half chances from both side and especially Arsenal who were throwing themselves at Forest in order to somehow cling onto their lead.

And finally, they weathered the storm and pulled off a nervy win to start off their new campaign. But, Nottingham Forest can return back home with their heads up high after their valiant effort to oust the dominant North London side.

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