Arsenal moved top of the Premier League table tonight with a 2-0 victory away to Crystal Palace.
Mikel Arteta’s side kicked off the campaign with a difficult visit to Selhurst Park, where they were hammered 3-0 by Patrick Vieira’s troops last season.
But this time, Arsenal were on the winning side in somewhat comfortable fashion.
Gabriel Martinelli headed the Gunners into a narrow half-time lead, before Bukayo Saka forced an own goal from Marc Guehi late in the game to seal all three points.
Granit Xhaka booking
It was a new season but the same Granit Xhaka in some respects.
The Switzerland international picked up a silly yellow card in the first half and although his well-documented disciplinary problems are generally related to fouls, on this occasion it was simulation and referee Anthony Taylor demonstrated his zero-tolerance policy by brandishing a booking immediately.
It was a relatively needless booking and Lee Dixon has labelled the Arsenal midfielder as ‘stupid’.
He told NBC Sport: “Let’s just wait until the second half and see if another yellow comes out. That is a dive, quite rightly booked and for a man of his experience, stupid!”
Xhaka, a £30 million signing in 2016, has a long and frustrating history when it comes to being sent off.
This time, he did well to avoid a second booking after the break but his initial punishment was a reminder that leopards don’t change their spots and the player remains capable of putting Arsenal under pressure when there’s really no need.
In any case, Arteta’s side still picked up the three points and that’s all that matters.