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Rediff.com  » Sports » PIX: Saka, Nketiah shine as Arsenal kicks off EPL with a bang

PIX: Saka, Nketiah shine as Arsenal kicks off EPL with a bang

Last updated on: August 12, 2023 22:16 IST
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Arsenal

IMAGE: Arsenal's Kai Havertz in action. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Arsenal began their new Premier League campaign with a 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday thanks to first-half goals from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka.

 

Kickoff was delayed by 30 minutes due to turnstile issues at Emirates Stadium which prevented fans from getting in on time. But once the game kicked off Arsenal shot out of the blocks, dominating possession and cutting through Forest's defence.

Arsenal

IMAGE: Arsenal's Kai Havertz in action with Nottingham Forest's Serge Aurier and Willy Boly. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Nketiah opened the scoring after being set up by a sublime turn and back-heel pass from Gabriel Martinelli before Saka doubled their advantage when he curled in a shot from range that easily beat his former team mate Matt Turner in Forest's goal.

Arsenal took their foot off the gas in the second half and were nearly punished when Taiwo Awoniyi gave Forest a lifeline with a late goal from a sweeping counter-attack but the north London side held on for all three points.

Brighton ruin Luton's top-flight return with 4-1 thrashing

Brighton

IMAGE: Luton Town's Carlton Morris in action with Brighton & Hove Albion's Jan Paul van Hecke. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Brighton & Hove Albion spoiled any hopes of a successful start to Luton Town's return to top-flight football with a comprehensive 4-1 home win over the Hatters in their Premier League clash on Saturday.

Luton, making their first appearance in the top division for 31 years, spent much of the game on the back foot, visibly tiring near the end and being punished by their hosts.

Solly March scored to ensure a 1-0 halftime lead before new signing Joao Pedro converted a second-half penalty and doubled the home team's advantage.

Carlton Morris pulled one back for Luton, also from the spot, before late goals from substitutes Simon Adingra and Evan Ferguson reflected the home side's dominance.

March rose above three Luton defenders to expertly head home Kaoru Mitoma’s cross in the 36th minute of a game that the home side dominated.

Joao Pedro, signed from Watford in the pre-season, then doubled the lead from the spot in the 71st minute after winning what looked like a soft penalty after falling down in a challenge with Luton captain Tom Lockyer.

That was evened up by another debatable decision which allowed Carlton Morris to scored Luton’s first ever Premier League goal from the spot in the 80th minute, but Adingra latched onto a defensive slip to restore the Seagulls' two-goal advantage five minutes later.

It might have been a more successful afternoon for Joao Pedro, who fluffed an easy tap-in from right in front of goal in the fifth minute. The 21-year-old scuffed his shot after Pascal Gross had cut the ball back into his path.

Danny Welbeck was full of attacking intent and came close in the 38th minute with a dipping effort that came off the woodwork and into the arms of the visiting goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski.

Lockyer, making his return after cardiac surgery, did make contact with Joao Pedro but it looked innocuous as Brighton were awarded a fortuitous penalty just past the 70-minute mark.

De Cordova-Reid earns Fulham fortunate win at Everton

Fulham

IMAGE: Everton's Amadou Onana in action with Fulham's Kenny Tete. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Bobby De Cordova-Reid led a smash and grab for Fulham when he scored with a rare shot on target in their 1-0 Premier League victory over a wasteful Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

De Cordova-Reid netted on 73 minutes with a tap-in at the back post after excellent work from Andreas Pereira, one of two shots on target for the visitors.

Everton, who survived relegation on the final day last season, had enough chances to win but were wasteful, struck the crossbar and had a goal disallowed in controversial circumstances.

They had the ball in the back of the net at 0-0 through Michael Keane, but his effort was ruled out by referee Stuart Attwell for a perceived foul by James Tarkowski on goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Edouard scores as Palace spoil Sheffield's Premier League return

Crystal Palace

IMAGE: Crystal Palace fans celebrate after the match. Photograph: Craig Brough/Reuters

A second-half strike from Odsonne Edouard was enough to earn Crystal Palace a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, giving the hosts an unhappy return to the Premier League after a two-year absence.

United started brightly and almost took the lead in the ninth minute through William Osula's long-range effort, but Palace grew into the game and broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when Edouard turned Jordan Ayew's cross into the net.

Edouard and Joachim Andersen both had efforts saved by Wes Foderingham in the second half as Palace had the better chances, but despite enjoying the bulk of the possession, the visitors were unable to extend their lead.

Relegated after the 2020-21 campaign, Sheffield rebounded with a second-placed finish in the Championship last season, but after losing key players in the close season the Blades always seemed set to struggle, as they did at Bramall Lane on their return.

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