Arsenal 2-1 Nottingham Forest: Gunners open campaign with three points after delayed kick-off

With kick-off at the Emirates Stadium delayed by thirty minutes as a result of a major turnstile problem, Arsenal looked to kickstart their Premier League campaign with three points against a Nottingham Forest side that left it late to secure safety last season.

ARS: Ramsdale; Timber, Saliba, White, Partey; Havertz, Rice, Ødegaard; Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka

NFO: Turner; McKenna, Worrall, Boly; Aina, Mangala, Yates, Aurier; Gibbs-White, Johnson, Danilo

Despite a flurry of early chances for the Gunners, it was Nottingham Forest that came closest to taking the lead after just 11 minutes. The Arsenal defence seemed to have switched off as Boly powered a header through the Arsenal backline, sending Johnson through on goal – but with minimal pressure on his shoulders, the forward blasted his effort over the bar.

But fifteen minutes on from that Forest chance, Nketiah opened the scoring for the hosts. Martinelli had been quiet for large parts of the opening stages, but the Brazilian was able to pick out Nketiah after jinking past Danilo. The striker cut inside, drilling an effort past Turner – who left Arsenal for Nottingham Forest just two days ago.

Their lead was quickly doubled in North London, with Gibbs-White dispossessed following an Arsenal corner – and a neat set of passes ultimately saw Saka played through into space. From 25 yards out or so, the Englishman curled a stunning strike into the far corner, further tightening Arsenal’s grip on this opening match.

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Rice came painstakingly close to opening his Arsenal account with fifteen minutes left to play at the Emirates Stadium, attempting to drill a low strike from distance – but Turner was able to turn that effort onto the woodwork and avert the danger momentarily.

That save seemed to bring an end to Arsenal’s attacking presence, and it was the visitors that found the back of the net next after a blistering counterattack. Elanga and Awoniyi had both been introduced as substitutes, and the duo combined as the ex-United winger darted towards goal before clipping a neat cross towards Awoniyi – who finished with precision at the near post!

Despite their late consolation goal, Forest have lost their opening league match for the fifth successive season – and their wait for points will drag on. They host Sheffield United on August 18.

The Gunners may have rescued a win, though Forest were able to exploit their weaknesses and a much-improved performance will be needed against Crystal Palace on August 21.

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