Arsenal off to winning start as Nketiah, Saka show class to see of battling Nottingham Forest

Eddie Nketiah says he is ready to lead Arsenal's attack - Photo Credit || Imago

Arsenal off to winning start as Nketiah, Saka show class to see of battling Nottingham Forest

Joel Omotto 18:30 - 12.08.2023

The Gunners took an early two-goal advantage and never relinquished it despite the Tricky Trees’ late goal to give Mikel Arteta maximum points in the Premier League opener

For the first time in history, Nottingham Forest have lost their opening league game in five successive seasons, as Arsenal inflicted a 2-1 defeat upon them as they begin their quest to end their 20-year title drought.

An issue with Arsenal’s new ticketing system resulted in a 30-minute delay to kick-off in this season’s opener, and could perhaps offer some mitigating circumstances for the slow start the hosts made.

In fact, the Gunners were lucky not to fall behind early on, when some statue-esque defending allowed Brennan Johnson to ghost in behind, but when faced one-on-one with Aaron Ramsdale, Forest’s talisman skewed his effort well off target.

How Forest were left to rue that missed opportunity too, as a first half blitz from Arsenal all-but laid the game to rest before the break. Some eye-catching footwork from Gabriel Martinelli opened up a shooting chance for Eddie Nketiah, and the youngster made no mistake in firing past former Gunners ‘keeper Matt Turner.

It was proving to be a rather traumatic return to the Emirates for Turner, who was picking the ball out of his next moments later too when Bukayo Saka curled home a sumptuous effort to double Arsenal’s advantage.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Arsenal though, who lost Jurrien Timber to injury early in the second half - a far from ideal moment for Mikel Arteta who faces the prospect of having lost one of his big-money summer signings on the opening day.

In truth, Forest were lucky not to be more than two goals behind, with Arsenal spurning a hatful of openings to extend their lead, but taking advantage of that reprieve was proving problematic for a goalshy Forest, whose only meaningful chance on goal after Johnson’s earlier miss was an Ola Aina pop-shot from 25-yards.

After a disappointing end to last season saw Arsenal throw away a healthy lead at the Premier League summit, conceding a late goal to allow Forest back into the game would’ve had Arteta twitchy.

Taiwo Awoniyi struck the goal for Forest following some impressive work from Anthony Elanga in the build up, but that strike proved to be nothing more than a consolation for the Tricky Trees, whose winless run at Arsenal extended to a whopping 13 games.