Bukayo Saka on mark as Arsenal hang on to win vs Nottingham Forest

Arsenal began their mission to wrestle the Premier League title away from Manchester City with a narrow victory over Nottingham Forest thanks to a fine goal from Bukayo Saka.

Eddie Nketiah and Saka scored in the first half after a half-hour delay before kickoff at the Emirates Stadium. However, the hosts were unable to extend their lead and were pegged back by Taiwo Awoniyi as they held on for a 2-1 victory.

The kickoff was delayed by 30 minutes due to a problem with the turnstiles, but this did not threaten to dampen the expectant ambiance as Arsenal seeks to improve on their runner-up finish from the previous season.

Defeat at Forest in May ended that title bid, but a repeat never appeared probable from the moment Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner – making his debut after joining from Arsenal this week – had a clearance charged down by Nketiah as the ball went wide.

Brennan Johnson was unable to score after being passed in behind for the visitors, who had already missed a golden opportunity.

Gabriel Martinelli’s moment of brilliance freed Nketiah inside the Forest penalty area, and Joe Worrall’s deflection on Nketiah’s low effort allowed Arsenal to take the lead just after the midpoint of the first half.

Saka then assumed the spotlight, receiving a pass from William Saliba and scoring a magnificent goal just before halftime.

Not everything was rosy for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, however, as summer signing Jurrien Timber limped off with an apparent knee injury after only 50 minutes.

The Dutch defender fell to the ground in agony after committing an infraction on the stroke of halftime, but he returned for the second half before being forced off shortly thereafter.

The second half appeared to be largely dominated by Arsenal, with Declan Rice forcing Turner into a low save with a deflected shot before the £105 million man had another shot blocked.

However, from the corner that resulted from Rice’s second attempt, Forest broke quickly and substitute Anthony Elanga sped down the left flank before setting up Awoniyi for the goal.

Gabriel Magalhaes replaced Martinelli to bolster Arsenal’s defense, while Forest brought on Chris Wood in a last-ditch effort to salvage a point by substituting players such as him. Arsenal ultimately prevailed.

Bukayo Saka on mark as Arsenal hang on to win vs Nottingham Forest