• Match review

Player Ratings: Rice and Havertz make Arsenal debuts in Forest win

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The Gunners found a winning start to the new Premier League campaign.

Arsenal defeated Nottingham Forest 2-1 in their Premier League game on Saturday. A dominant first-half display was enough to ensure a winning start for three Arsenal debutants.

The Gunners registered their first goal of the season after an incredible assist from Gabriel Martinelli in the 26th minute. Eddie Nketiah then latched onto the ball inside the box before making it 1-0 for Arsenal with a powerful finish.

Only six minutes later, the visitors’ pressure led to their second goal of the night. This time, Bukayo Saka unleashed an unstoppable curler from behind the box to double his side’s lead.

Forest pulled one back through Anthony Elanga’s wonderful run-and-assist in the 82nd minute. But it was already too late for the hosts to mount a comeback.

How were Rice, Havertz, and Timber?

Mikel Arteta started all three of his side’s summer signings against Forest. As expected, Jurrien Timber started on the left-hand side of Arsenal’s defence while Declan Rice formed the Gunners’ midfield unit alongside Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard.

Timber had a few impressive ball-recovery moments but also made two misplaced passes. He received a yellow card before the break and left the pitch with an injury.

Rice was truly outstanding in his debut. The former West Ham star displayed impressive work rate in midfield, winning six duels. He also registered a 92% pass accuracy and three shots on target.

It seems that Havertz needs more time to adapt to Arsenal’s system under Arteta. The German midfielder had a few good runs throughout the game but struggled to find his teammates under pressure.

Player Ratings

Arsenal: Ramsdale (6); Partey (7), White (6), Saliba (7), Timber (6); Rice (7), Havertz (6), Odegaard (7); Saka (8), Nketiah (7), Martinelli (7).

Bench: Tomiyasu (6), Trossard (7), Magalhaes (6).

Nottingham Forest: Turner (7); Boly (7), Worrall (6), McKenna (6); Aurier (5), Yates (5), Mangala (5), Aina (6); Danilo (7), Johnson (5), Gibbs-White (7).

Bench: Awoniyi (7), Williams (6), Elanga (7), Kouyate (6), Wood (6).