Gilberto believes some 'first-night nerves' may have affected Arsenal's performance on Saturday.

The Brazilian's 84th-minute equaliser rescued a point after it seemed that Aston Villa may sneak a surprise victory in the opening Premiership fixture at Emirates Stadium. 

"It was difficult," he admitted afterwards. "They marked us very tight and it was difficult to pass through them.

"But being the first game at a new home, maybe we were a bit anxious. After the game, we were a bit upset not to have gotten the result, which is normal because we wanted to win our first match here.

"It was not strange [to be here], but just a little bit different because we were so used to playing at Highbury where it was a small pitch with less people watching.

"Now, we all realise this is our new home and so we need to play like we used to at Highbury and transfer the atmosphere we had there."

Although Olof Mellberg will go down as the first goalscorer in a competitive fixture at Emirates Stadium, Gilberto grabbed a little piece of history himself by hitting the opening Arsenal strike.

"I am very proud to have scored the first Arsenal goal at our new home," he said. "We were 1-0 down and it was a bit of a lift for us. Maybe we were a bit anxious to score and they made our job very, very hard."

The 29-year-old is making a habit of scoring late equalisers. After Doncaster and Bolton last season, this was his third in nine months.

"I do not know [why that happens]," he said. "I think maybe God chose me to do this kind of job!

"But I am very proud to help Arsenal over these last four years, and hope I can do more each day in training. In the end I just scored a goal, and it helped the team."

8/1 - Arsenal v Dinamo Zagreb: Cesc Fabregas to score the first goal


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21 Aug 2006