Crystal Palace vs Arsenal: Eagles overwhelm Gunners at Selhurst

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Crystal Palace vs Arsenal: The Eagles wasted little time tearing into the Gunners, as they extended their unbeaten run to five games (3W-2D-0L) with a 3-0 victory at Selhurst Park on Monday.

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Jean-Philippe Mateta opened the scoring just after the quarter-hour mark as Crystal Palace were unleashed by Patrick Vieira after what must have been a hard, but beneficial, week of training. Eight minutes later, Jordan Ayew double the lead and Wilfried Zaha added a late penalty kick to complete the rout.

The victory sends Crystal Palace (37 points) up to 9th (up from 12th at kickoff) in the Premier League table, as they lead the chasing pack of Leicester City (37), Aston Villa (36), Southampton (36), Brighton (34) and Brentford (33) in the race for two places in the top half. Arsenal (54 points), meanwhile, remain in 5th, behind Tottenham on goal difference, though the Gunners have a game in hand.


Crystal Palace vs Arsenal final score, stats, results

Final score: Crystal Palace 3, Arsenal 0

Goal scorers: Crystal Palace (Mateta 16′, Ayew 24′, Zaha 74′ – PK), Arsenal (None)

Shots: Crystal Palace 6, Arsenal 12

Shots on target: Crystal Palace 5, Arsenal 3

Possession: Crystal Palace 32%, Arsenal 68%


3 things we learned – Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

1. Vieira flourishing in first season as PL manager: It must be frustrating, for Arsenal fans, to look at the work Patrick Vieira has done in all of eight months as Crystal Palace manager, then look at how far Arsenal have (or haven’t) come in two and a half years under Mikel Arteta. When you consider the difference in financial resources invested to assemble the two squads, what Vieira is doing becomes even more impressive. Crystal Palace have an identity — they’re going to out-work every side in the Premier League, all 38 games — thanks to Vieira, and Arsenal simply couldn’t cope with their pressure. Speaking of identities and pressure…

2. The thing about young players…: … is that they’re young, and because they’re young, every difficult challenge they face is the first time they will have faced it. Example: Arsenal’s incredibly impressive young core — Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, among others — has not yet been through a top-four battle, let alone one they currently lead and for which they are the odds-on favorites. The youngsters were hailed for being young, carefree and wide-eyed when they won nine of 11 Premier League games, but the youthful exuberance turned to fearful apprehension from the opening whistle on Monday. Crystal Palace were first to virtually every 50-50 ball, they closed down and defended in numbers, and they were ruthless with the precious few scoring chances they needed.

3. Top-four to come down to north London derby: The north London derby (originally scheduled for Jan. 16, but postponed due to a rash of COVID-19 cases, injuries and international call-ups in the Arsenal camp) has officially been rescheduled for May 12, making it the third-to-last game of the season for Arsenal and Tottenham. Given the way Arsenal and Tottenham always eventually find one another in the Premier League table, it’s hard to imagine that game will be anything but a winner-take-all showdown for 4th place.


Crystal Palace vs Arsenal highlights

Jean-Philippe Mateta heads home Crystal Palace’s opener (goal video)

Andre Ayew slots past Aaron Ramsdale for 2-0 (goal video)

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Wilfried Zaha converts penalty kick for 3-0 lead (goal video)