Crystal Palace have lost 4-1 to Arsenal after firing Patrick Vieira; they are winless in 12 Premier League games.
Coach Mikel Arteta was once again ushered a golden chance to extend the lead by three points at the top and heap pressure on Manchester City. And they had to do that against a wounded lion.
Crystal Palace arrived the Emirates just days after Patrick Vieira was shown the exit door after a twelve-match winless run, leaving the club 3 points from the relegation zone.
Mikel Arteta made six major changes to the team that lost against Sporting CP at the Emirates.
Ben White took his rightful place at the back while Holding came in for injured William Saliba. Thomas Partey and Martin Oddegard started in the middle of the park with Jorginho and Vieira returning to the bench.
Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard returned to the lineup while Gabriel Jesus and Nelson were benched.
Arsenal Starting Lineup: Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli.
Paddy McCarthy was temporarily incharge of the team after Patrick Vieira’s sack. McCarthy made three changes to the squad that lost to Brighton in their last game.
Crystal Palace Startling Lineup: Joseph Whitworth; Joel Ward, James Tomkins, Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell; Luka Milivojevic, Cheick Doucoure, Jeffrey Schlupp; Odsonne Edouard, Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise.
Arsenal got the game underway dominating and pulling the triggers on the attack.
Ben White tried a through-ball for Saka in the final third but the winger moved too fast and was caught offside.
Crystal Palace pulled back facing a marathon of Arsenal pressure early in the game but it was just a matter of time before the Gunners dropped the curtain-raiser.
Martinelli, Xhaka, and Saka were constant threats and had crippled Crystal Palace on the wings and the middle of the park. The Eagles lined up all their 10 men in their own half.
Saka came close to Arsenal’s opening strike but his right-foot cross went over the goal for a goal kick.
Another attempt saw the Gunners break on a counter on the left flank with Martinelli trying to locate Trossard but Palace defender Tomkins was quick enough to clear the danger.
Arsenal continued to mount pressure and finally took the lead with two minutes to the end of the half hour.
Bukayo Saka picked on Gabriel Martinelli on the left flank with a cross. The Brazil international drilled home a left-footed strike pass Crystal Palace goalkeeper Whitworth to put Arsenal in front.
Arsenal maintained the pressure after the 1-0 lead leaving no space for the visitors to pull real threats upfront.
Arsenal came close to a chance to double the lead in the 41st minute.
Ben White had located Martin Oddegard on the edge of the opponents’ box who fed Thomas Partey with a nice cross. Partey’s glancing header flew over the post.
Two minutes after Thomas Partey’s miss, Arsenal extended the lead with Bukayo Saka’s clinical finish.
The England star fired a curled left-footed strike pass Whitworth to double the lead for the Gunners before going into the first-half break.
Arsenal held sway over the game as the second half gets underway.
Mikel Arteta was confidently cruising to victory with Arsenal’s clinical display in front of their home fans.
Bukayo Saka continued tormenting the visitors in the right flank forcing Tomkins to task twice in the 47th minute.
Crystal Palace made strenuous efforts upfield to break Arsenal’s siege in the 50th minute.
Crystal Palace paced up dangerously with the ball into Arsenal’s box after a quick counter but plunged to the ground after Bukayo Saka’s pressure.
He screamed for a penalty but the referee waved on for the play to continue.
Five minutes later, Granit Xhaka sank the Eagles with Arsenal’s third. Trossard has torn the Crystal Palace defense apart after a nice one-two before passing it to Xhaka, who beat Whitworth to make it 3-0 for the Gunners.
Schlupps restored comeback hopes for Crystal Palace in the 63rd minute after he chest Olise’s cross before delivering a sweeping cross into the net.
But the comeback hopes was effectively buried in the 74th minute when Saka bagged his brace after firing home Tierney’s whipped cross into the net to make it 4-1.
The match ended with Arsenal grabbing a deserved 4-1 win to extend their lead on the Premier League table to 8 points.
The loss to the Gunners extended Crystal Palace’s winless Premier League run to 12 games this season.