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Arsenal hold off Forest, Brighton teach Luton a Premier League lesson

Arsenal began their Premier League title challenge by beating Nottingham Forest 2-1 on Saturday as Brighton shrugged off the absence of Moises Caicedo to thrash newcomers Luton 4-1.

After finishing second to Manchester City last season, Arsenal have 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 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.

No Caicedo, no problem

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.

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 at Goodison Park 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 start their campaign later on Saturday 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 on Sunday.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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