Arsenal relied on Martin Odegaard’s 54th-minute penalty and an obdurate defensive effort when down to 10 men late on to secure a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace in the English Premier League on Monday. (More Football News)
Takehiro Tomiyasu was sent off in the 67th minute after collecting a second yellow card, forcing Arsenal to retreat to preserve its second straight victory to open the campaign.
In the end, a penalty separated the teams, with Odegaard sending Sam Johnstone the wrong way from the spot after the Palace goalkeeper brought down Eddie Nketiah following a quickly taken free kick. Bukayo Saka usually takes Arsenal’s spot kicks but he handed the ball to Odegaard, the captain.
Arsenal is keeping pace with likely title rival Manchester City, the defending champion, by earning back-to-back wins. The first — 2-1 at home to Nottingham Forest — didn’t come easy, either.
“We know Man City are the best team in the world at the minute and they are tough to stop,” Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice said. “But it’s a great challenge ahead.”
Palace offered little attacking threat until Tomiyasu, who was yellow-carded in the 60th for taking too long at a throw-in, was adjudged to have pulled the jersey of Jordan Ayew after the Palace forward spun round to chase a ball over the top.
The second booking looked harsh and Tomiyasu appeared stunned by the decision as he became the fifth player in the second round of Premier League games to be sent off. Match officials are clamping down on time-wasting, especially, this season, explaining why Tomiyasu got his first yellow.
“We know what’s happening, we know if we are time-wasting, we’re going to get a yellow card,” Rice said. “It can be frustrating at times but they laid down the law at the start of the season.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta withdrew a raft of attackers in the final 20 minutes and replaced them with defenders to protect the lead. Center backs William Saliba and substitute Gabriel, in particular, were impressive in helping Arsenal see the game out.
“I love to win like this,” Arteta said.
“Even at 10 men, we didn’t concede and we read the game very well. ... It shows how much we want it.”
In the first half, Nketiah wasted two great chances when played through first by Saka and then by Rice. His first attempt hit the post and his second was poked over the crossbar.
Palace won its opening game at Sheffield United 1-0.
Aside from City and Arsenal, Brighton was the only other team with a maximum of six points after two games.