Two familiar faces settled it for Arsenal. But after the strike duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang secured a second win of the season, it was the performance of new boy Dani Ceballos that had the home supporters licking their lips.
The Real Madrid loanee received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Lucas Torreira with seven minutes remaining after a brilliant display that hinted Arsenal could have secured one of the bargains of the summer. Along with the experienced defender David Luiz – an £8m signing from Chelsea – Ceballos was making his full debut against opponents who have now lost 11 matches in a row against Arsenal.
When Ashley Barnes equalised on the stroke of half-time, it was tempting to think Arsenal’s old vulnerabilities at the back would undermine them yet again but a dominant second-half display, capped by Aubameyang’s ninth goal in his last seven games, was the least that they deserved.
“We wanted to create a good atmosphere to start off the season in front of our own supporters and the impact that the new players had in their first match was very encouraging,” said a visibly delighted Unai Emery. Arsenal’s head coach had been unable to call on Mesut Özil despite his return to training this week after security concerns as the former Germany international was deemed not to be match fit, although Sead Kolasinac did make a late appearance from the bench.