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Arsenal 5 - Crystal Palace 0: back on track

The Gunners smashed a hapless Palace side.

Arsenal FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Arsenal cruised to a 5-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Emirates in a match where the Gunners never really got out of second gear. Nor did they have to. The visitors looked disjointed and deflated, more or less rolling over after the opening goal.

Palace are moving in the wrong direction and are now just five points above the relegation zone. With Graham Potter in attendance, Roy Hodgson looking forlorn, and fans protesting, you have to wonder whether a change in manager might be on the cards for the Eagles.

Arsenal, on the other hand, move back into third place and will want to keep the momentum going with a critical clash against Liverpool two weeks away. You really couldn’t have scripted a better match for the Gunners. They kept their set piece dominance going, threw the open-play goal monkey off their back, and got Gabriel Martinelli back on the scoresheet.

A quick word about the announcers and some commentators who were, I feel, overly and unfairly critical of Arsenal’s performance. Sure, they’ve looked more dominant at times over the past two seasons, but they won 5-0. Crystal Palace hardly had a touch in their box. Energy / effort regulation is both a skill and an art. The Premier League season is a marathon, not a sprint. Why do significantly more than you have to do for full points?

Gabriel Magalhaes should have had two goals to his name, but his second goal was re-scored as a Dean Henderson own goal. Leandro Trossard scored on the break, calmly cutting around his defender and finishing after an excellent pass from Gabriel Jesus and a quick-release from David Raya to start the move. Gabriel Martinelli scored two nearly identical goals in second half added time. The first was a classy finish on the dead run, moving onto an Eddie Nketiah through ball. Martinelli glanced up to check where the keeper was, opened his body, and curled into the far corner. The second was a bit easier of a finish because he was more central thanks to a world-class ball from Jorginho.

The only negatives coming out of the match were that both Declan Rice and Gabriel Magalhaes looked a bit gimpy coming off the pitch. Rice looked to say “hammy” or “tight hammy” as he walked off but wasn’t moving too poorly. Let’s hope it was precautionary more than anything else. Big Gabby took a seat on the bench rather than going down the tunnel, which hopefully indicates it’s nothing serious with him, either. Mikel Arteta confirmed that in both cases it was discomfort / tightness and the changes were to avoid further problems. He sounded a bit more concerned and unsure about the centerback’s problem, although whatever the knock was, he picked it up in the first half and was able to play most of the second.

Arsenal have ten days before they’re next in action at Nottingham Forest, plenty of time to rest and heal. After that, the all-important match against Liverpool at the Emirates, a virtual must-win and absolutely a can’t lose if the Gunners want to challenge for the title.