Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that the Gunners shouldn’t falter on the opening day of the Premier League season as they did last year as the circumstances are ‘different’.
The north London side travel south of the River Thames to face Crystal Palace on Friday, marking the third successive season in which they have opened the new campaign in an away local derby.
They kicked off the 2021/22 season at Brentford, but were beaten 2-0 by Thomas Frank’s side in the Bees’ first top-flight game in 74 years.
However, it was later revealed that key members of Arsenal’s squad – including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette – had bouts of illness or Covid-19, while players like Bukayo Saka had only just returned to training following summer international tournaments.
“[This match] is different,” Arteta said in his press conference ahead of Friday’s trip to Palace.
“Everything that happened before Brentford was pretty strange and unique. We are really excited, looking forward to the new season and will try to start in the best way.”
Listen now to The Chronicles of a Gooner, 90min’s Arsenal podcast! In this episode, Harry Symeou previews the Gunners’ opening match of the new season away at Crystal Palace…
Palace beat Arsenal 3-0 in this fixture last season during the Gunner’s horrendous run of spring form, with newly named captain Martin Odegaard conceding a penalty that evening.
Arteta has backed the Norwegian to be successful as the club’s new skipper.
“This season we had the opportunity to do it in the way that I believe could work,” he added. “We chose a player in Martin who has been with us for 18 months and represents the values of the club in the perfect way.
“He’s respected by all the dressing room and admired by the staff. I’m happy to have someone like him, he’s enjoying the responsibility and he’s going to need some support.”