Arsenal win opening game of the season

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The Independent Football

Arsenal opened the Premier League season on Saturday with a 1-0 home win over newly promoted West Brom at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

Samir Nasri scored on his Premier League debut in the fourth minute and, while the Gunners failed to add to their advantage, they never looked like surrendering it either. Their best chances came early in the second half when Emmanuel Adebayor hit a low curling shot past the post and had a goal ruled out because of offside.

Arsenal's slight lack of edge was maybe due to manager Arsene Wenger's decision to rest Robin Van Persie even though he was without the injured Cesc Fabregas as well as long-term absentees Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo Da Silva.

With Fabregas out and Mathieu Flamini having left for AC Milan, Wenger started Denilson and Emmanuel Eboue in central midfield, with Nasri and Theo Walcott providing width.

The decision paid off early as Denilson broke down the left and cut the ball back from the byline into the path of Nasri, who hit the ball first time to guide a shot low into the far corner.

Walcott had a header blocked by defender Paul Robinson and Arsenal captain William Gallas strode out of defense to hit a 30-meter (yard) shot against the post with goalkeeper Scott Carson beaten.

Arsenal's momentum stalled slightly and, although Adebayor went close seven minutes into the second half and had a goal ruled out in the 60th, Wenger opted to bring on Van Persie in place of Nicklas Bendtner in the 70th to provide an extra attacking threat.

Carson didn't make a save in the second half until the 82nd and the home fans started to jeer Adebayor as he labored up front and seemed to hog the ball to his team's detriment.

Van Persie almost made it 2-0 in the 87th with a turn and shot inside the area but West Brom held on for a defeat that was narrower than it may have feared when the draw for the opening fixtures was made.

Still, Arsenal got the win as the team aims to start as strongly as they did last season, when they stayed undefeated in the Premier League until December.