Arsenal were on the back foot on the opening Friday night of last season as they lost 2-0 to Brentford, but it was a different story under the lights across London this time

There has been plenty to excite Gunners supporters during a preseason in which they made shrewd signings and won all five friendlies, but this was the first major test of their hopes of returning to the top four and they passed

They had to ride their luck at times with Aaron Ramsdale called into one excellent stop to deny Eberechi Eze early in the second half, but Marc Guehi's late own goal gave them a deserved win that will only heighten the sense of optimism around the club

Eze is a fine player and as he steps up his return from an ACL injury, the highly rated 24-year-old will surely improve as he steps into the void vacated by Conor Gallagher, who returned to Chelsea after a season-long loan last term

But Crystal Palace missed Gallagher on Friday. Only Wilfried Zaha (15 goals, two assists) had more goal involvements than Gallagher (eight goals, five assists) and Palace missed both his energy to break up Arsenal's periods of possession and his potency in the final third.

William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko made their Arsenal debuts at Selhurst Park and all contributed in different ways to a hard-fought victory

Jesus was impressive as Arsenal dominated the opening 35 minutes, while Zinchenko's header was the key component of a clever corner routine that allowed Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring

Saliba, perhaps the most long-awaited debutant of all, given he originally signed for Arsenal three years ago, was a much more assured presence than his more experienced centre-back partner Gabriel

It is only the beginning, but all three demonstrated their potential.