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Arsenal vs Crystal Palace. Premier League.

Emirates StadiumAttendance60,247.

Arsenal 4

  • G Martinelli (28th minute)
  • B Saka (43rd minute, 74th minute)
  • G Xhaka (55th minute)

Crystal Palace 1

  • J Schlupp (63rd minute)

Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace: Bukayo Saka scores twice as Gunners extend lead to eight points over Man City

Report and free match highlights as Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka score first-half goals; Granit Xhaka grabs third in second half before Jeffrey Schlupp nets Palace's first goal in five matches; Saka bags fourth as Arsenal move eight points clear; Palace three points above drop zone

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Arsenal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League

Arsenal moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 4-1 victory over managerless Crystal Palace.

With Manchester City in FA Cup action on Saturday, the Gunners capitalised on the chance to extend their lead against a Palace side led by interim boss Paddy McCarthy after Patrick Vieira was sacked on Friday.

Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka both scored first-half goals but only after the visitors had come within a whisker of leading when Wilfried Zaha's early effort came back off a post.

Granit Xhaka added a third shortly after the break to wrap up the points, but Palace, winless in their last 13 matches across all competitions, scored their first goal in five games when Jeffrey Schlupp turned in from close range at a corner.

Saka, though, netted his second and Arsenal's fourth to pile the misery on Palace, who sit three points above the relegation zone.

Player ratings:

Arsenal: Ramsdale (6); White (7), Holding (7), Gabriel (7), Zinchenko (7); Partey (7), Xhaka (8); Saka (9), Odegaard (8), Martinelli (8); Trossard (7).

Subs: Jesus (6), Tierney (7), Smith Rowe (n/a), Jorginho (n/a), Kiwior (n/a).

Crystal Palace: Whitworth (5); Ward (5), Tomkins (5), Guehi (5), Mitchell (5); Milivojevic (6), Doucoure (6), Schlupp (7); Olise (6), Edouard (6), Zaha (7).

Subs: Ayew (6), Hughes (6), Eze (n/a), Ahamada (n/a).

Player of the Match: Bukayo Saka

How Arsenal swept past Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace were forced into a late change with Joachim Andersen injured in the warm-up and replaced by James Tomkins, but they started fast and nearly led when Zaha was played in behind and sent a low shot off the left post. Odsonne Edouard was then released beyond the Arsenal defence although he was flagged offside after Aaron Ramsdale had saved when one-on-one.

It took Arsenal 18 minutes to have their first shot as teenager Joe Whitworth pushed away Martin Odegaard's effort from the edge of the area.

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Goalscorers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli celebrate during Arsenal's clash with Crystal Palace
Image: Goalscorers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli celebrate during Arsenal's clash with Crystal Palace

The hosts were ramping up the pressure down Palace's left and eventually, Saka crossed for Martinelli, who shifted the ball onto his left foot, gaining a yard on Joel Ward, before firing across Whitworth and into the bottom right corner for his sixth goal in as many Premier League matches.

Team news:

  • Gabriel Jesus started on the bench with William Saliba not in the Arsenal squad due to a back complaint. Rob Holding made his first Premier League start since the final day of last season. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Eddie Nketiah were also not in the matchday squad.
  • Crystal Palace’s interim manager Paddy McCarthy made two changes from the side that were beaten 1-0 by Brighton in Patrick Vieira's final game. Nathaniel Clyne dropped to the bench, replaced by Joel Ward, and Luka Milivojevic started instead of Albert Sambi Lokonga, who was ineligible to face his parent club.
  • Nineteen-year-old goalkeeper Joe Whitworth retained his place in goal, only his second Premier League start in the continued absence of Vicente Guaita.

From then on Arsenal were in control. Odegaard rolled a shot wide of the right post before Saka added the second. Ben White slipped him in, with the winger drifting behind Mitchell inside the area before slotting into the corner.

Granit Xhaka wheels away to celebrate after putting Arsenal 3-0 up against Crystal Palace
Image: Granit Xhaka wheels away to celebrate after putting Arsenal 3-0 up against Crystal Palace

Zaha stung the palms of Ramsdale as Palace threatened to mount a comeback early in the second half but soon Xhaka bundled home from close range to seal the points inside 55 minutes.

Schlupp gave the travelling support something to celebrate when he turned in from close range at a corner and things might have been made interesting had Zaha not rolled the ball inches wide from an angle with over 15 minutes to play.

Saka made sure there would be no late drama, bending home from substitute Kieran Tierney's pull-back to cap a fine afternoon.

Arsenal's final 10 fixtures:

  • Leeds (h) – Saturday April 1, 3pm
  • Liverpool (a) – Sunday April 9, 4.30pm - Live on Sky Sports
  • West Ham (a) – Sunday April 16, 2pm - Live on Sky Sports
  • Southampton (h) – Friday April 21, 8pm - Live on Sky Sports
  • Man City (a) – Wednesday April 26, 8pm
  • Chelsea (h) – Saturday April 29, 5.30pm - Live on Sky Sports
  • Newcastle (a) – Saturday May 6, 3pm
  • Brighton (h) – Saturday May 13, 3pm
  • Nottingham Forest (a) - Saturday May 20, 3pm
  • Wolves (h) - Sunday May 28, 4.30pm

Arteta: Squad is stepping up to overcome injuries

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Mikel Arteta says he was impressed with how his Arsenal side responded following their Europa League exit midweek in their 4-1 win over Crystal Palace

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "I'm really pleased with the performance, the determination, the energy we showed again. The way we controlled the game and overall really good. It's tough always after Thursday night, playing 120 minutes, they reacted brilliantly. The crowd was at it again, I'm really happy.

"We conceded a goal on a set play and it was poor the way we did it but we can take a lot of positives. There are things we have to do better, especially in the second half when we had the game totally under control to be even more dominant and try to score more goals. Be a bit more respectful with the simple things.

"Some great goals, some great combinations, we were really dominant and efficient in finding openings against a really compact and difficult low block."

On Takehiro Tomiyasu's injury sustained in midweek: "We don't know [if he will play again this season]. The doctor is going to assess him. It's not looking good, that's for sure. He's not someone who likes to exaggerate things so we know it is serious. We hope that it's going to be better news for William (Saliba).

"We had to respond. We had Gabriel Jesus out for four months, Emile (Smith Rowe) for four-and-a-half months. Kieran (Tierney), Thomas (Partey), Alex Zinchenko, Eddie Nketiah out. Now Tomiyasu and Saliba. You have to overcome those situations. We've done it. Rob (Holding) was brilliant today. Everybody has to give another edge to be at the same level.

"There were moments when we've had 14, 15 outfield players but we have coped because everyone is willing to play even when they have niggles and issues, they're willing to put their bodies on the line. This is what we need. To be at the top you really need to be on the edge at all times and these players are ready to do that."

McCarthy: Palace just need to believe in themselves

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Crystal Palace's interim boss Paddy McCarthy believes the Eagles can take many positives from their performance against Arsenal despite losing 4-1 at the Emirates

Crystal Palace interim manager Paddy McCarthy on build-up after Patrick Vieira's sacking: "It's been hectic. But we've tried to shield the players from that as much as possible. The start of the game was really encouraging and we had a chance to go ahead. We knew we had to be on our game today to stop a very good Arsenal side. Had we taken one of those earlier chances, it might have been a different outcome today.

"I've not had any time to think about anything other than preparing the team for [Sunday's] game. My only focus has been on this. There hasn't been any conversations had. I'm interested in doing whatever the football club want me to do. I've been here for 15 years. Whatever this club needs me to do at this moment in time, I'll do it."

How can Palace turn form around? "Belief. They've got so much quality in there and they've just got to believe in themselves. The chances we created today was a positive aspect of our game today. With the defending, Arsenal are always going to create chances. The fourth goal was disappointing as we were in the game at 3-1. It's a completely different story but 4-1 makes it look a bit worse than it actually was.

"We've proven today we can create chances against one of the defences in the division so they'll take positives from that. Joachim (Andersen) has a calf injury. He felt a twinge in his calf just before kick-off. When it rains it pours.

"When you're in this predicament, you need players who have gone through the mill. Tomks [James Tomkins] had 15 minutes warming up on the side to start and I thought he did brilliantly given the circumstances. We will need the experience to help us. Players who have gone through experiences like this are going to play a big role in the coming weeks."

Opta stats: Saka hits double figures for goals and assists

  • Arsenal earned their 22nd Premier League win of the season, as many as they managed in the whole of last term, and the Gunners' most-ever wins in their first 28 matches of a league campaign.
  • Crystal Palace remain one of only two sides yet to win a league match in England's top four tiers in 2023 (P12 W0 D5 L7), along with League One's Forest Green.
  • Bukayo Saka (12 goals, 10 assists) became the first player to reach both 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League this season. He is the first Arsenal player to reach double figures for both in a Premier League campaign since Alexis Sánchez in 2016-17 (24 goals, 10 assists), and only the second Englishman to do so for the Gunners, after Theo Walcott in 2012-13 (14 goals, 10 assists).
  • Leandro Trossard has assisted six goals in 10 Premier League games for Arsenal, at least twice as many as any other player in the competition since his club debut in January. It's also more assists than the Belgian provided in 50 Premier League appearances for Brighton since the start of last season (5).

Fantasy Premier League stats

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace FPL stats

Goals Martinelli, Saka (2), Xhaka | Schlupp
Assists Saka, White, Trossard, Tierney
Bonus points Saka (3pts), Xhaka (2pts), Schlupp (1pt)

Play Fantasy Premier League and see more stats here

What's next?

Arsenal continue their title quest when they host relegation-threatened Leeds on Saturday April 1 at 3pm. They then head to Liverpool on Sunday April 9, live on Sky Sports.

When Crystal Palace return after the March international break, their next six fixtures are against teams below them in the table. The last time the Eagles played a team below them in the league was against Bournemouth on New Year's Eve in 2022, which was Vieira's last win in charge.

Palace face relegation rivals Leicester at home on Saturday April 1 at 3pm before heading to Leeds on Sunday April 9. More big games follow at Southampton and then at home to Everton.

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