Arsenal moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 4-1 win over managerless Crystal Palace.
With Manchester City in FA Cup action on Saturday, the Gunners seized the opportunity to extend their lead against a Palace side led by caretaker boss Paddy McCarthy after Patrick Vieira was sacked on Friday.
Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka scored goals in the first half, but only after the visitors had nearly taken the lead when Wilfried Zaha’s early effort bounced off a post.
Granit Xhaka added a third shortly after half-time to close out the points, but Palace, winless in their last 13 games in all competitions, scored their first goal in five games when Jeffrey Schlupp converted from close range into a corner.
Saka, however, scored his second and Arsenal’s fourth to fill Palace, who sit three points above the relegation zone, with misery.
How Arsenal beat Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace were forced to make a late substitution with Joachim Andersen injured in the warm-up and replaced by James Tomkins, but they started fast and nearly won when Zaha moved behind and sent a low shot past the left post. Odsonne Edouard was released past the Arsenal defence, although he was flagged for offside after Aaron Ramsdale made the one-on-one save.
It took Arsenal 18 minutes to get their first shot when teenager Joe Whitworth deflected Martin Odegaard’s shot from the edge of the box.
The hosts increased the pressure on Palace’s left and eventually Saka crossed to Martinelli, who shifted the ball to his left foot, gaining a yard on Joel Ward, before firing through Whitworth and into the bottom right corner for his sixth. goal in so many Premier League games.
From then on, Arsenal were in control. Odegaard hit a shot wide of the right post before Saka added the second. Ben White slid it inside, with the winger sliding behind Mitchell inside the box before conceding into the corner.
Zaha stung Ramsdale’s palms as Palace threatened to come from behind early in the second half, but Xhaka soon struck from close range to seal the points on 55 minutes.
Schlupp gave the traveling support something to celebrate when he turned close around a corner and things could have been interesting had Zaha not rolled the ball from an angle with more than 15 minutes to go.
Saka made sure there was no late drama, doubling home from substitute Kieran Tierney’s setback to cap off a good afternoon.
Arsenal continue your title search when host threatened with relegation leeds Saturday, April 1 at 3:00 p.m. Then they go to Liverpool Sunday April 9, live sky sports.
When crystal Palace they return after the international break in March, their next six matches being 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 3:00 p.m. before heading to leeds on Sunday April 9. They follow more important parties in southampton and then at home for Everton.