After 75 days of excitement and anticipation, we finally return to Premier League action when we kick off the campaign with a Friday night capital clash at Crystal Palace.
After a fruitful summer for us that has seen five new faces through the door, six friendly wins and 26 goals netted, the eyes of the world will be focused on us and Patrick Vieira’s side to see how the first match of the season goes.
Having been beaten 3-0 by Palace back in April, we’ll be hoping that our pre-season momentum will help spring a different result to start our 38-game campaign in the perfect way, but know it’ll be a tricky test with the Eagles losing just one of our last eight meetings.
The summer in SE25
Vieira has continued to evolve an aging squad by bringing in youth, such as £17.5 million Mali midfielder Cheick Doucoure [above] who aims to plug a large Connor Gallagher-shaped hole. The rest of their recruits seemingly look to be about building depth, with American defender Chris Richards arriving from Bayern Munich, teenager Malcolm Ebiowei plucked from cash-strapped Derby County, and former England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone snapped up on a free.
Palace’s pre-season results haven’t been bad, despite a large number of their star names missing their tour of Singapore and Australia after failing entry requirements. A mixture of first-team and academy players weren’t discredited in defeats to Liverpool and Manchester United, before drawing against Leeds United.
Meanwhile, the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Ebereche Eze stayed home and secured three wins against EFL clubs, before everyone came together again last weekend to beat Montpellier 4-2 at Selhurst.
What the managers say:
Arteta on Palace: “They showed last season how tough they are, how difficult they are to beat and how consistent they were at home as well, especially against the big teams when they got some great results.
“They had that result against us and hopefully, we learned a lot of lessons that day, especially the 30 minutes we had where we were nowhere near the standards that we needed and we paid the price for it.”
Watch or read Arteta’s entire pre-match press conference
Vieira on us: “They had really good games during the pre-season. I think they’re in a better place than last year. The new players they’ve brought in, they are much stronger. They have the squad to challenge and be closer to the title.
“We know that it is going to be challenging but I believe that we have the tools to make it difficult for them, to make it challenging for them. Last year at home with the support we had we had some really good matches, and it will be important to keep it that way.”
Arteta is hoping that he may be able to call upon the services of some of his injured quartet of players, including Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe and new signing Fabio Vieira – hear more from the boss on their likely involvement.
William Saliba could be in line for his debut, while the same could be said for Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Palace will definitely be missing Michael Olise (foot) and James McArthur (groin), while they also only have Guaita to call upon between the sticks as new signing Johnstone is struggling with a thigh problem, as well as Jack Butland.
Veteran defender James Tomkins is also likely to miss out with a calf issue.
Facts and stats
Following their win in April, the Eagles are looking to win consecutive league games against us for the first time in their history.
Palace ended the last campaign unbeaten in six home league games (W3 D3), keeping a clean sheet in each of the last five. They last had a longer unbeaten home run in the top-flight between March – August 1992, while they’ve never kept six consecutive home clean sheets in the top division.
None of our last 17 Premier League games have ended in a draw (W11 L6) – only once have we had a longer run (25 between January and October 2018).
This is the third consecutive season we’re starting our Premier League campaign with a London derby, winning 3-0 at Fulham in 2020/21, before losing 2-0 at Brentford.
Palace have won their opening top-flight league match in only five of their previous 22 seasons, although they have won two of their last four.
This will be the fifth time in top-flight history the season has kicked off on a Friday night, with the home side winning on each of the previous four occasions, including our 4-3 win against Leicester City in 2017/18.
Gabriel Jesus has been involved in seven goals in his last seven league games (6 goals, 1 assist). He could extend our record of having the most Brazilian goalscorers in Premier League history, which currently stands at 11 players.
The man in the middle for our opening game is Anthony Taylor, who is taking charge of us for the first time since our 2-0 win against Leicester City in March. He proved to be a good omen for us last term, as we won all three games he oversaw.
We have won 24 of the 41 matches of ours he has officiated stretching back to the 2010/11 season, including our last win at Selhurst Park back in May 2021.
- Referee – Anthony Taylor
- Assistant Referee 1 – Gary Beswick
- Assistant Referee 2 – Adam Nunn
- Fourth Official – Peter Bankes
- Video Assistant Referee – Darren England
- Additional Video Assistant Referee – James Mainwaring
Recent trips to Selhurst Park
Selhurst hasn’t been a particularly happy hunting ground for us over the past few years, with just one win yielded from our last four visits – that was a 3-1 win in May 2021 when injury-time strikes from Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli claimed all three points.
Last season’s 3-0 defeat saw Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew and Zaha all get on the scoresheet, with Ayew also netting in a 1-1 draw back in January 2020, canceling out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early opener in a game where the Gabon international was also dismissed.
The Breakdown Live
A new season means a new Breakdown Live, which now starts an hour before kick-off. Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke will be providing live analysis from our brand new studio at Emirates Stadium, while Frimmy grabs the views of our supporters from Selhurst Park.
When it’s kick-off time, we’ll hand over to Dan Roebuck and Josh James to provide commentary on all the action, with half-time and post-match coverage following.
All this essential viewing for any Gooner starts at 7pm BST, and can be seen live on Arsenal.com and the official app.
Watch The Breakdown pre-season special
A new season brings new faces, rules and regulations, and you can find out about everything you might have missed in our guide.
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