In the Arsenal vs Nottingham match in the first round of the Premier League 2023/24 on Saturday night, August 12, Arsenal defeated Nottingham 2-1 at Emirates home. A not-so-beautiful victory of the Gunners even though they completely overwhelmed the away team most of the time. The important thing, however, is that Arsenal got off to a good start with three points in their pocket.
Arsenal: Nketiah (26′), Saka (32′)
Nottingham: Awoniyi (82′)
Welcoming West Ham in the opening match in the Premier League 2023/24, Arsenal played with a 4-3-3 formation with a quartet of Jurrien Timber, William Saliba, Ben White, and Thomas Partey. Partey was suddenly pulled down to kick right back – an unexpected arrangement of coach Mikel Arteta. In midfield, rookie duo Kai Havertz, Declan Rice, and Martin Odegaard are 3 names chosen. In the attack, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, and Bukayo Saka side by side.
With the home-field advantage and outstanding squad quality, Arsenal easily mastered the game. Without the ball, the Gunners quickly changed their tactics with Partey moving up the midfield to pair Rice with Rice in a 3-2-2-3 system. Knowing he knew me, Nottingham pulled down the “bus station” formation on the side of the field. The away team defended tight, organized, and were not afraid to commit fouls from afar.
It was Nottingham’s annoying play that kept Arsenal at a complete standstill for more than half of the first half. The Gunners simply passed back and forth before the round of 16m50, with all spaces being sealed by Nottingham. When they did not know how to penetrate the dense defense of the opponent, Arsenal had a goal to break the balance thanks to the flashing moments of the stars.
In the 26th minute, Martinelli took the ball on the left wing and then turned the compa to pass Nketiah’s decisive foot into the net of Nottingham in the penalty area. Martinelli’s Samba tackle sent Nottingham’s defense to shreds in a flash.
Just 6 minutes later, the lead was doubled for Arsenal. Receiving Saliba’s pass, young winger Saka hit the ball into the middle and drew a beautiful curve with his left foot. The ball went in an arc, passed the reach of goalkeeper Matt Turner, and went straight into the top corner of Nottingham’s goal.
Received 2 goals quickly, but Nottingham was powerless to get on the ball to find a goal. Arsenal controlled so well, and every time they lost the ball, they immediately regained it in a heartbeat. The statistics showed Arsenal’s dominance when they controlled the ball up to 84% in the first half, launching 7 shots compared to only 1 Nottingham’s side.
In the second half, it was still a one-sided game in favor of Arsenal. The Gunners held the ball a lot but could not create dangerous opportunities. It was not until the 76th minute that Arsenal had a remarkable threat situation with a sinking shot that forced Turner to save. Drama happened in the 82nd minute when Nottingham suddenly found a goal to shorten the gap after a quick counterattack.
In the remaining minutes, Arsenal pulled down the slow-playing squad to preserve the fragile gap, and they succeeded. In the end, Arsenal beat Nottingham 2-1 in the opening match of the Premier League 2023/24. This is generally an acceptable start for the Gunners, although they can quite possibly have a jubilant victory.
In the second round, Arsenal will host Crystal Palace on August 22, and Nottingham will host Sheffield United.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Saliba, White, Partey, Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli (Gabriel 86′), Timber (Tomiyasu 50′), Nketiah (Trossard 73′), Havertz, Rice.
Nottingham: Turner, Worrall (Wood 90′), Mangala (Kouyate 90′), Gibbs-White, Johnson (Elanga 80′), Yates, Aurier, McKenna, Danilo (Awoniyi 71′), Boly, Aina (Williams 72′).