•Brighton, Fulham, Palace Also Win
Taiwo Awoniyi continued from where he stopped last season with yet another goal for Nottingham Forest, but his lone strike was not enough to stop Arsenal from winning their opening game of the 2023/24 English Premier League season.
Awoniyi scored in the last five games of last season, one of which was against yesterday’s opponent, Arsenal, but the second half substitute could not get another goal to earn Forest a share of the spoils at the Emirates.
Aware that their title rivals, Manchester City, were already sitting pretty win three points and three goals after finishing their job against Burnley on Friday, Arsenal set to get on the same pedestal with two first half goals to suggest they were in for a goals feast.
The Gunners, who finished second to Manchester City last season, splashed over £200 million ($254 million) on new signings to try and claim their first title for 20 years.
Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber all made their debuts at the Emirates and Arsenal should have had a far more convincing scoreline to show for their performance.
Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring after some sublime skill by Gabriel Martinelli opened up the Forest defence.Bukayo Saka then curled into the top corner from outside the area, but the Gunners were guilty of not killing the game off.
Forest had barely threatened until the introduction of Anthony Elanga and Taiwo Awoniyi. Former Manchester United winger, Elanga marked his debut with a fine run and cross for Awoniyi to score in his fifth consecutive Premier League game eight minutes from time.
“We were super dominant,” said Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta. “There’s no question that we deserved to win the game.
“We have to be more ruthless and more critical of ourselves to be pushier and kill the games.” Victory ensured Arsenal did not lose any early ground on City, who began the defence of their title with a 3-0 win at Burnley on Friday.
Elsewhere, Brighton ensured there was no fairytale for Luton on their return to the top flight for the first time in 31 years despite the distraction of Caicedo’s looming departure.
The Ecuadorian is set to become the most expensive player in Premier League history after a £110 million deal was agreed with Liverpool. However, Caicedo reportedly still prefers a move to Chelsea, who have had a series of bids rejected by Brighton.
The Seagulls have also lost Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool from the side that finished sixth last season.But two of the other stars of the 2022/23 campaign combined to open the scoring as Solly March headed in Kaoru Mitoma’s cross.
Joao Pedro opened his Brighton account from the penalty spot in the second-half before Carlton Morris reduced Luton’s arrears from the spot at the other end.
But late goals from Simon Adingra and Evan Ferguson gave a fairer reflection of Brighton’s dominance to put Roberto De Zerbi’s men top of the table.
At Goodison Park, Everton’s need for a striker was laid bare as the Toffees wasted numerous chances in losing 1-0 at home to Fulham. Bobby Decordova-Reid scored the only goal 17 minutes from time.
Crystal Palace were also 1-0 victors at promoted Sheffield United, thanks to Odsonne Edouard’s second-half strike.West Ham began life without Rice with a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth, as Dominic Solanke’s equaliser for the home side cancelled out Jarrod Bowen’s opener.
Newcastle started their campaign later yesterday at home to Aston Villa. Chelsea and Liverpool will take their battle in the transfer market onto the field when they face off in the clash of the weekend today.