Arsenal lost 2-0 to Brentford last year…will things be any different against Palace tonight?

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Spirits are high in the Emirates and for good reason. Arsenal enter the Premier League opening weekend as the pre-season team in form, with five wins in five, 20 goals and a rich summer of transfer activity.

If their Champions League hopes were shattered by the deaths of bitter Tottenham rivals last season, it would normally have set off a dark cloud of turmoil and turmoil, but Mikel Arteta and the board have done well in preparation to buoyancy in the Emirates to recover trailers.

Marquee signing Gabriel Jesus has got off to a flying start with seven goals in his four appearances, with the Gunners crippling top four rivals Chelsea 4-0 and the Champions League qualifier Sevilla 6-0 in the Emirates Cup.

Mikel Arteta wants to start this season better after last year's defeat on opening day

Mikel Arteta wants to start this season better after last year’s defeat on opening day

However, the higher the ghosts are heading into a new season, the further it falls. Both last summer and in this transfer window, Arsenal have so far spent more money than any other Premier League club, meaning expectations have reached an all-time high since Arteta’s arrival in 2019.

For two seasons in a row, Arsenal have been tasked with raising the curtain in the Premier League on Friday evening against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace this year.

Sports post has explored why the Gunners’ visit to Selhurst Park could be a potential banana peel for Arteta as he tries to avoid an opening day defeat for the second straight season after losing 2-0 to Brentford last season.

Gabriel Jesus enters the season with seven goals in his four pre-season appearances

Gabriel Jesus enters the season with seven goals in his four pre-season appearances

Gabriel Jesus enters the season with seven goals in his four pre-season appearances

Crystal Palace – are they Arsenal’s bogey team?

Arsenal’s feisty Champions League attack last season was stopped by Crystal Palace, which kicked off the Gunners’ woeful run to finish the season.

Arteta’s side sat comfortably fourth for their trip to Selhurst Park, but slumped after Palace’s 3-0 thrashing.

Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha took advantage of a questionable defense from Arsenal that night, with the north London club losing 2-1 to Brighton and 1-0 to Southampton in their next two games.

Jean-Philippe Mateta scored the first when Crystal Palace defeated Arsenal 3-0 at home in April

Jean-Philippe Mateta scored the first when Crystal Palace defeated Arsenal 3-0 at home in April

Jean-Philippe Mateta scored the first when Crystal Palace defeated Arsenal 3-0 at home in April

The pointless run effectively cost the Gunners Champions League football as Spurs leapfrogged them ahead of the final game of the season.

In their last eight Premier League encounters with Palace, Arsenal have won just once, drawn five and lost twice.

Despite Arsenal impressing in pre-season and entering the new season as arguably the most in-form side in the division, Arsenal have struggled for results against the Eagles in recent times.

An added story since last summer is the arrival of Gunners legend Vieira in Selhurst Park, who made an impression after taking the hot seat.

Bukayo Saka emerged as Arsenal's star player last season and was keen in preparation

Bukayo Saka emerged as Arsenal's star player last season and was keen in preparation

Bukayo Saka emerged as Arsenal’s star player last season and was keen in preparation

Three points from the top half, Vieira took Palace to 12th place in the last campaign, with the second-highest number of goals scored on any side outside the top eight, behind Aston Villa.

His side also finished the season with just 46 goals conceded, fewer than Manchester United, West Ham, Leicester and Arsenal.

Perhaps feeling they have a psychological advantage over Arsenal after April’s win, Crystal Palace will face opening day confident that they will cause a shock.

All or nothing – can Arsenal handle the spotlight?

Alongside Manchester United following the arrival of Erik ten Hag, Arsenal have been at the center of media attention in preparation for the season, having narrowly missed the top four after a disappointing final stretch.

The highly anticipated new series of Amazon’s All or Nothing, focusing specifically on Arsenal’s campaign last season, was released earlier this week, just in time for the Premier League curtain raise.

Thanks in large part to their young squad – the youngest in the top division last season – the Gunners struggled to cope with the pressure of missing out on Champions League qualification as the results began to elude them.

The revealing nature of Everything or Nothing is likely to put an abundance of pressure on the Arsenal squad

The revealing nature of Everything or Nothing is likely to put an abundance of pressure on the Arsenal squad

The revealing nature of Everything or Nothing is likely to put an abundance of pressure on the Arsenal squad

When the load was heaviest, Arsenal suffered two defeats in a week against bitter rivals Tottenham and the nascent Newcastle, leaving virtually no hope of a return to the Champions League.

And now, perhaps at the worst possible moment, the young squad is once again in the spotlight and on this occasion in the most revealing way – a fly on the wall documentary.

All or nothing has put even more pressure on the Gunners squad, with no stone unturned from last season.

Friday hoodoo – can Arteta escape opening day defeat?

The Gunners were shocked on opening day last season as all eyes were on Brentford ahead of their debut campaign in the Premier League.

Starting with a lineup that included Folarin Balogun, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers, there was no doubt that Arsenal had a weakened side before the game, struggling to get key players like Bukayo Saka fully fit after Euro 2020.

The 2-0 defeat was an unacceptable deficit. But the manner of the defeat was perhaps the most alarming conclusion of the evening, as the defense was bullied by Ivan Toney and the attack lacked creativity.

Arteta flew straight to the top of the Premier League layoff, with many fans already calling for his departure.

Brentford sent Arsenal 2-0 on the opening day of the Premier League season last year

Brentford sent Arsenal 2-0 on the opening day of the Premier League season last year

Brentford sent Arsenal 2-0 on the opening day of the Premier League season last year

Despite Arteta’s turnaround last season, with a respectable – if not ideal – fifth-place finish in the league, fans would probably have rolled their eyes when they saw Arsenal kick-off the new season on Friday night.

An important change this year, however, is that Arsenal have enough minutes for the season in their pockets and face Friday night in a purple stain. While Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith-Rowe and Kieran Tierney are hesitant to play against Crystal Palace, Arsenal have actively used the preparation to address the issues.

Ben White, who brought in £50million last summer, was brought in at right-back for much of the preseason, with William Saliba taking center stage in defense alongside Gabriel Magalhaes.

While Arteta probably prefers Tomiyasu taking on danger man Zaha on the right side of the defense, White has had plenty of opportunities in the prep to get ready for the task.

Ben White played in preparation for right-back with Takehiro Tomiyasu injured

Ben White played in preparation for right-back with Takehiro Tomiyasu injured

Ben White played in preparation for right-back with Takehiro Tomiyasu injured

Likewise, unconvinced by left-back deputy Nuno Tavares – who was beaten 3-0 against Palace in April – Arteta begged the board to bring in Oleksandr Zinchenko to cover Tierney, who is likely to miss the start of the season.

The Ukrainian may move into midfield when Arsenal’s first-choice left-back returns from injury, but signing a versatile player of Zinchenko’s quality shows the club is learning from last year’s mistakes.

With a much changed Leicester team, Bournemouth, Fulham and Aston Villas in the next four games after Crystal Palace, Arsenal could get close to the top of the Premier League in September if they can dodge the opening day banana peel.

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