Arsenal began their new Premier League campaign with a nervy 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday after first-half goals from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka.
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.
Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi gave Arsenal a heart-in-mouth moment with a late goal but victory moved last year’s runners-up level with leaders Manchester City on three points but behind on goal difference after the champions beat Burnley 3-0 on Friday.
Arsenal’s persistence paid off and they put an end to Forest’s stubborn resistance when a sublime pirouette from Gabriel Martinelli put two defenders in a spin and set up Eddie Nketiah who opened the scoring.
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 more pushy 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.