Martin Odegaard hailed Arsenal's resilience after they overcame Takehiro Tomiyasu's red card to seal back-to-back wins at the start of their campaign and warned their title rivals: "We'll get better with every game."
The Gunners continued their perfect start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last night, Odegaard scoring the only goal with a cool penalty soon after the break.
The visitors' task was made all the more difficult by Tomiyasu's dismissal midway through the second half, however, which left Mikel Arteta's side to hold out for the best part of half-an-hour with 10 men.
As in the 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on the opening weekend, the Gunners looked well short of last season's thrilling best, but Arteta's side still have six points from a possible six and Odegaard stressed the importance of keeping up with the early pace as an evolving team looks to gel.
"It was difficult, we had to dig deep and fight for it," he said. "When you come here you have to be able to suffer, and we knew that before the game. We did that brilliantly. The start of the season is always a bit tricky, it takes a bit of time before everyone finds their rhythm and their top form. So, it's crucial to still get the three points and build on it from there. I'm sure we'll get better with every game."
Tomiyasu was sent off for two yellow cards in seven minutes after the hour mark, the second of them for a slight tug on the shirt of Palace winger Jordan Ayew. That booking looked soft, but the Japanese was already walking a tightrope, having been cautioned for time-wasting over a throw-in.
Odegaard was himself fortunate not to be booked when calling for Eberechi Eze to be booked for diving late on and the Gunners captain admits his team must adjust fast to avoid further jeopardy. "It's new rules, so we have to adapt," he said.
Meanwhile, Arteta dismissed suggestions Gabriel could be sold before the transfer window closes this month, the centre-back left on the bench for the second match in a row and the subject of reported interest from Saudi Arabia.
"It's about the games that we were expecting," Arteta said of his team selection. "He's played in both games and he's going to play a lot of games."