"mood killer" Timber: Awoniyi makes Arsenal tremble again

"mood killer" Timber: Awoniyi makes Arsenal tremble again

The conditions for the Premier League start could have been better. Arsenal’s game against Nottingham had to be kicked off half an hour later because of “delays at the turnstiles”. The rush to the Gunners’ first league home start since August 12, 2018 (0-2 against Manchester City) was too great. But the reigning English runners-up didn’t let the noise disturb them and delivered – at least before the break.

After winning the Community Shield against Manchester City (4-1 on penalties), coach Mikel Arteta added three summer newcomers to the starting lineup: Timber (Ajax) defended at left back, record transfers Rice (West Ham) and Havertz (Chelsea) started in Midfield. The German national player had to give up the striker against ManCity.

In the first few minutes, Arsenal found it extremely difficult to find a gap in the multi-legged Forest defence. Unlike Nottingham, who could have taken the lead with the first chance: After a header, Johnson was alone in front of Ramsdale, but passed the ball over it (11th).

Gabriel Martinelli dances

Only an ingenious individual action by Gabriel Martinelli – turning with a heel – broke the spell: Nketiah gratefully accepted the Brazilian’s preparatory work, tunneled through Worrall and made it 1-0 (26th). Arsenal then sparkled with enthusiasm, just six minutes later Saka thundered the ball into the top left corner from the edge of the penalty area (32′).

Forest defended with man and mouse, which is why coach Steve Cooper’s team did not come up with relief attacks at all. The 2-0 lead at the break was perfectly fine. The Gunners got a bit of a shock at the start of the second round: Timber twisted his knee unhappily and had to be supported when leaving the pitch (50′).

Cooper-Joker sting cold

The injury proved to be a “mood killer”. At Arsenal it felt like the plug was pulled, the home side switched to management mode. Forest were non-existent offensively, however, allowing Rice to sniff his first Premier League goal for Arsenal twice – Turner objecting to each (76′, 81′).

And suddenly it was only 2:1 because two Cooper jokers stabbed ice cold: Elanga had rushed to the left and crossed to Awoniyi with pinpoint accuracy, who only had to put his foot out (82nd). The tension was back, Gibbs-White made the Emirates pause again. But it was a narrow success for Arsenal, who, like champions City, started the new season with three points.

On Matchday 2, the Gunners travel from north to south London to Crystal Palace (21 August, 9 p.m.). Nottingham Forest welcome newly promoted Sheffield United on Friday (8.45 p.m.).


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