Arsenal ease past Crystal Palace to extend lead over Manchester City

Arsenal ease past Crystal Palace to extend lead over Manchester City

Arsenal carved out an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with another commanding victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium. A brace from Bukayo Saka and goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka in either half powered the Gunners to a 4-1 win against a manager-less Eagles side at home and opened a bigger gap over Manchester City in second place.

Mikel Arteta’s side welcomed Crystal Palace to North London following their demoralising defeat on penalties against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night, but the Gunners bounced back emphatically to extend their winning run in the Premier League to six matches. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, headed to the Emirates on the back of a 12-game winless run that led to the sacking of their manager Patrick Vieira.

Interim boss Paddy McCarthy was given the reins for their encounter against the league leaders, but the former Eagles defender couldn’t inspire Palace to a victory. The visitors held their own for the opening half-hour of the game, but it didn’t take long for the Gunners to get the ball rolling as Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring in the 28th minute. The Brazilian was found by Bukayo Saka at the edge of the box and unleashed his effort into the bottom corner to put the Gunners 1-0 in front.

Saka turned from assister into scorer for Arsenal’s second goal, with the England international receiving Ben White’s pass and slotting the ball past Joe Whitworth in the Crystal Palace goal to put the hosts 2-0 ahead.

Arsenal extended their dominance into the second half and it wasn’t long before the Gunners found themselves 3-0 ahead. Leandro Trossard supplied another assist in Arsenal colours following his hat-trick against Fulham last weekend, slipping in Granit Xhaka, who squeezed the ball into the near-post to secure the three points.

Crystal Palace found a consolation shortly after the hour mark, with Jeffrey Schlupp netting from a corner to score the Eagles’ first goal in five matches. However, Bukayo Saka restored Arsenal’s three-goal cushion in the 74th minute. The 21-year-old’s first-half contributions meant that he became the first player to hit double figures in goals and assists in the Premier League this season, and he put the icing on the cake in the closing stages, converting Kieran Tierney’s cross to make it six wins in six for Mikel Arteta’s side.

With Manchester City on FA Cup duties over the weekend, Arsenal’s victory extends their lead at the top of the table to eight points over Pep Guardiola’s side.