DISQUIET: Fans expressed themselves from the stands
CRYSTAL PALACE had not beaten Arsenal at home in the league since 1975. It looked like that run would continue last night but Arsenal did not reckon with the hunger, desire, commitment and passion, which the Palace players showed.
Sadly all those qualities mentioned were missing from the Arsenal side last night as they were totally over ran by a Palace side, which was brilliantly led by Momodou Sakho at the back and the front three of Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend. The latter two were unplayable. This defeat was not only damaging for the north Londoners but it left them seven points outside the champions league places.
Palace probably have the toughest run in of all the teams fighting to stay in the Premiership but they have now taken 15 points from the last six games, with six of those points coming against Chelsea away and now Arsenal. You simply could not make it up. Arsenal on the other hand are in danger of not making the Champions league for the first time in 21 seasons.
Within two minutes, from a long punt by Wayne Hennessey, Mamadou Sakho teed up Yohan Cabaye in the Arsenal area but he fluffed his lines.
ON POINT: Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend celebrates
Mohamed Elneny forced Hennessey to make a fine save as he it a shot from 25 yards out. Just after the midway point Palace put some neat passes together, which culminated with the ball being played to Wifried Zaha, who although he slipped, he managed to get enough on the ball, which fell to Andros Townsend who hammered it past Emiliano Martinez to give the Eagles the lead.
Arsenal responded as Nacho Monreal laid a pass to Alexis Sanchez who saw his shot go just wide as Hennessey was rooted to the spot.
Just before the break Christian Benteke combined with Wifried Zaha and when he received a return ball he hit a shot, which Martinez had to tip round the post for a corner.
Palace led 1-0 at the break.
In the second half Palace carried on where they left off and continued to press Arsenal high up the pitch and did not allow the north Londoners to get their passing game going. Benteke put the ball into the net but it was ruled offside. Jason Puncheon then headed straight at Martinez from a corner.
BATTLE: Crystal Palace's Jason Puncheon (left) and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey
Palace were always going to need a second goal in this game to have a chance of winning and it duly came when Zaha provided another assist as he crossed the ball to Cabaye who hit a first time chip cum shot past Martinez to double their lead.
Things were to get worse for Arsenal has Martinez was adjudged to have brought Townsend down and Michael Oliver awarded Palace a penalty. Luka Milvojevic stepped up and calmly dispatched the ball to the bottom right of the goal to make it 3-0 to Palace.
There was no way back for Arsenal and they have now won just two of their last eight league games. The worrying thing at the end was some of the Arsenal fans who sang, “You are not fit to wear the shirt” when the players went over to acknowledge them.
Palace put in a complete performance with every player, putting in a shift. This was summed up at the end when Sakho calmly chested the ball back to his keeper Hennessey.
Wilfried Zaha who has often been on the end of some criticism has started to blossom as he had two assists here in addition to the goal he scored at Stamford Bridge last week. However his manager Sam Allardyce said:
DEFEAT: Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (centre) and team mates appear dejected
“I don’t think he is the finished article just yet but I think his potential is now a reality as he is getting better. “
Allardyce also said:
“Our defensive solidarity gives us a platform to win football matches.”
When Arsene Wenger was asked if the team had downed tools he said:
"I would not say that.
"Maybe the fact that we have lost a few away games, you could see it had an impact after the second goal tonight.
"I am disappointed tonight. It will be inconvenient to speak about me tonight. It is more painful the way we lost this game.
"It is part of our job to rebuild the confidence and we have a week to do it.”
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