The top four race takes another turn as Arsenal are picked to pieces by a clinical Crystal Palace spear headed by ex Gunners legend Patrick Vieira.
The travelling side came into Monday evenings game looking to capitalise on Chelsea’s embarrassing result and close the gap to third position but instead finished this game week in fifth, however level on points with Spurs in fourth with a game in hand.
As for The Eagles they came into this game in the hope of maintaining a mid table finish in what has been a very successful first season for Patrick Viera’s men, who also have a trip to Wembley to look forward to in the coming weeks against Chelsea in the FA Cup Semi Final.
Of course a big atmosphere at one of the best supported teams in the league helped them in maintaining a constant pressure during the open phases of the game, pinning the Arsenal team back. And only 16 minutes in the game saw the opening goal in the game after a deep freekick was swung into the back post which met the head of defender Joachim Andersen who put the ball across the box which was headed past Aaron Ramsdale via the towering head of frontman Jean-Philippe Mateta who got his third goal in four games. Continuing to be second best in the game Arsenal’s defence was spilt open by yet another Andersen assist where Jordan Ayew curled in a well deserved goal. 24 minutes in and Arsenal were left shell shocked.
Mikel Arteta who surely had a word or two to say to his team at halftime took off defender Nuno Tavares, who had a poor game and was at fault for the second goal, and on came Gabriel Martinelli as Arteta wasted no time in trying to provide his side with more attacking threat. There was no question that Arsenal dominated the second half but failed to properly test Vicente Guatia’s goal due to a brilliant display by the Palace defence.
In the 73rd minute of the game Wilfred Zaha nicked the ball off a struggling Thomas Partey where the Nigerian drove at the Arsenal backline where he was eventually fouled by Martin Odegaard giving Palace the chance to put the game to bed with a penalty. Zaha took the responsibility and succeeded in sealing his sides victory over a toothless Arsenal side.
A massive result for the home side as they prolong their unbeaten streak to now seven games and propel them up to ninth in the league table, a position no fan would have thought would have been achievable for the South London side at the start of the season. Patrick Vieira has brought a free flowing style of football to Selhurst Park, getting the most out of their young attacking talent with one revelation being loanee star Connor Gallagher who put in yet another strong performance which adds to a very good season for the 22 year old in which he has even caught the eye of national team coach Gareth Southgate.
As for Arsenal they will see this as a missed opportunity in which Arteta was very apologetic after an “unacceptable” performance but will still recognise fourth spot is still in their hands even with the defeat to Palace. They had been a very exciting team to watch as of late with all their young attacking stars, however they couldn’t find their groove against a stubborn Palace defence. Arsenal have a number of big games coming up with them due to the play top four hopefuls such as; Chelsea, Manchester United, West Ham and Spurs, so a lot of football still to be played where all could change.