Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal: The Eagles ensured the race for the top four took another turn as they defeated Champions League hopefuls Wilfried Zaha at Selhurst Park
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The Eagles edged their London rivals at Selhurst Park as they headed to three points with two first-half goals. Patrick Vieira’s side were cruelly rejected during their visit to the Emirates earlier this season when a last-minute equalizer forced them to settle for a point. This time, however, they shouldn’t be slowed down like that Tottenham a big favor.
Antonio Conte’s team skipped arsenal fourth on Sunday but counted on the Gunners to slide up. They got their wish as Jean-Philippe Mateta got the hosts going before Jordan Ayew doubled their lead shortly after. Arsenal struggled to find an answer in the second half before Wilfried Zaha won and converted a penalty to make the game safe.
Here are five talking points from Selhurst Park.
1. Top 4 twist
Arsenal looked nice but now they are making it difficult for themselves. Before the Palace clash, they were level on points with Tottenham but had two games in hand. A north London derby is looming and could yet prove crucial in determining who gets Champions League football.
Conte’s side have won five of their last six and appear to be on the right track, while Arteta’s young side have lost for the second time in three games after losing Liverpool recently. The Gunners have been on an impressive winning streak for most of the past few months. Manchester United’s draw at the weekend means the race for fourth place now appears to be just a north London affair, adding to Monday’s defeat.
2. Mateta proves its worth
The French striker opened the game and continues to prove why Vieira chooses him over Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard. The former was often used as the Eagles’ main attacking option, while Edouard arrived with great reputation from Celtic in the summer.
However, Mateta, a loanee signed last season and on permanent duty since January, showed his predatory instinct to finish early from close range. Arsenal have conceded just five times from set pieces this season but the Palace striker was the quickest to react to a second ball and was named man of the match.
3. Defensive problems force a change
There is much talk about the partnership between Ben White and Gabriel at the heart of Arsenal’s back four, but the Brazilian has been criticized for his role in both goals that netted the Gunners’ goal. His interception for Ayew’s goal was one that didn’t pay off, allowing the Ghanaian to strike.
At left-back, Nuno Tavares replaced the ever-consistent Kieran Tierney and was also at fault for the goal that doubled Palace’s lead. The Portuguese youngster was targeted by the Eagles during the first 45 as they continued to attack down their right flank while the Arsenal man struggled to hold his own defensively before being on the hook at half-time.
4. An unwanted blueprint
As Jamie Carragher said in the comment – “there is a way to lose”. Arsenal would never accumulate maximum points from now until the end of the season but the nature of their latest setback could well set off alarm bells as Palace were able to dominate and bully the Gunners.
Tottenham and United still have to face Arteta’s young Arsenal side and may be looking to use tactics similar to those of the Eagles, who have been able to demonstrate their authority in the competition from the first minute, with the visitors offering little response. The narrative used to be often that Arsenal can be reached – such has been the success of teams like Stoke City in the past – and sides could again feel like they are being targeted in a similar way.
5. 2-0 is not a dangerous lead
There’s a lot of talk about how a two-goal lead is far from certain. A goal for the opponent and suddenly the league leaders get nervous – but against Arsenal a 2-0 lead often pays off. Arteta knew he had a big team talk coming up as he entered the visitors’ dressing room.
He was tasked with organizing a winning comeback that would see the Gunners bounce back from a 2-0 deficit and win for the first time in 14 years. It was Arsène Wenger who got his team back on track when they lost at Bolton in March 2008. Two goals for the hosts in the first half were canceled out by William Gallas and Robin van Persie before Jlloyd Samuel hit his own net in added time.
Arsenal couldn’t find any answers in the second 45 as the 14-year wait for a miraculous comeback continues and Zaha reinforced their night as he made it 3-0 with 15 minutes left.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/match-reports/arsenal-crystal-palace-premier-league-26635051 Arsenal's four biggest hopes are shaken by Crystal Palace's dominant display - 5 talking points