Arsenal began its 2023-24 Premier League season by hosting Nottingham Forest at the Emirates. Thankfully, Arsenal won 2-1 thanks to goals from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka. Taiwo Awoniyi scored for Nottingham Forest. This wasn’t the most convincing Arsenal performance, but it was a win nonetheless. Let’s dive deeper into this match.
Arsenal 23-24 Match 1: Arsenal’s Defense Was Good Overall
The Gunners were not able to keep a clean sheet against Nottingham Forest. This is a bit unfortunate. However, Arsenal defended well overall in this match.
The Gunners limited Nottingham Forest to only two shots on target in the entire match. Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, and especially Jurrien Timber all played well. Timber was especially impressive and really helped Arsenal limit Forest’s counterattacks while he was on the pitch.
Timber’s injury is unfortunate. Additionally, Thomas Partey played at right-back and struggled. Partey does not have the pace to contain Premier League wingers and this showed in Forest’s goal.
Moving forward, Arteta will have to figure out how to include Partey in Arsenal’s midfield. Partey at right-back is not a viable long-term solution.
The Gunners’ Midfield Played Well and Dominated Possession
Martin Odegaard had a good game against Forest. Odegaard could have scored a goal, but he came up short this time. Regardless, he was constantly creating chances for Arsenal in this game.
Kai Havertz could have done a little more on the ball. However, Havertz defended well and won eight duels, which was the most of any Arsenal player against Forest. Additionally, Rice played well and contributed to Arsenal enjoying 78% possession against Nottingham Forest.
Rice seems comfortable taking up positions that Xhaka used to occupy. Rice nearly scored, as well. Once Partey is re-integrated into Arsenal’s midfield, the Gunners should have an extremely strong midfield.
Bukayo Saka Dazzled in Arsenal’s Attack
Bukayo Saka is one of Arsenal’s biggest stars and he showed his quality once again in the match against Forest. Saka proved to be a constant threat down the right-hand side. Saka capped off his performance with a fantastic goal in the first half.
Saka is an easy choice for Man of the Match this week against Nottingham Forest.
Arsenal 23-24 Match 1: 7.5/10 Manager Rating for Arteta
Arteta did a fairly good job against Nottingham Forest. The Gunners played well in the first half and scored two great goals. However, Arsenal did fade a bit in the second half. Additionally, playing Partey at right-back did not pay off. Arteta gets a 7.5/10 manager rating this week against Nottingham Forest.
The Gunners Travel to Selhurst Park Next
Arsenal next plays Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The Gunners won this fixture 2-0 last season. Hopefully, they can win once again and continue the positive momentum. It is a good bet that Arsenal will beat Crystal Palace once more.
Check back next week for more Arsenal content.