Two things that stood out in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace

Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 4-1 in a Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday. Bukayo Saka scored a brace for the Gunners, while Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka got a goal each. Jeffrey Schlupp scored the only goal for the visitors.

With that victory, Arsenal’s moved to 69 points from 28 matches. It saw them extend their lead at the top of the league table to eight points over second-placed Manchester City, who has a match in hand. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace remained in 12th with 27 points from 28 matches.

Palace, who sacked their manager Patrick Vieira a couple of days ago, was left to rue missed opportunities. The Gunners, on the other hand, had more reasons to celebrate as Gabriel Jesus made a return as a substitute after a long injury lay-off. Mikel Arteta’s team continue to look the favorites to win their first league title in almost two decades.

We will now take a look at two things that stood out in the matc.

Arsenal front three impressed in the first half, with Ben White also making an impact

Arsenal started the match in their customary 4-2-3-1 formations, with Leandro Trossard once again starting as the false nine. The hosts dominated possession from the very beginning. However, for all their dominance, they failed to register a single attempt during the initial 20 minutes, with Crystal Palace having two.

The visitors depended on counter-attacks to make a dent in Arsenal’s defence and a through ball played to Wilfried Zaha resulted in the latter hitting the bar to shake the Gunners.
A few minutes later, another through pass was played to Edouard, whose shot was then saved by Aaron Ramsdale. Initially, Arsenal’s attacks primarily flowed through the left flank, with Gabriel Martinelli often falling back to collect the ball and venture forward. Oleksandr Zinchenko frequently switched to the central midfield to increase numbers as Trossard kept dropping down to create space.
However, Martin Ødegaard had an indifferent initial 20-25 minutes. Arsenal started making a real impact as soon as Ben White started making overlapping runs through the right. He combined with Saka for both of Arsenal’s goal. For the first, White played a pass to Saka, who then played it across to Martinelli for him to finish with his left foot. The Brazilian winger has been a lot more direct in his approach recently and is on a goal-scoring spree at the moment.
White then played yet an other forward pass to Saka for the latter to score with his left foot. Ødegaard also came to his own as the half progressed and had one of his shots saved by the Crystal Palace goalkeeper. Arsenal’s adroit and quick padding in the final third troubled the Palace defender’s to no end, as the home side threatened to score more goals.

Arsenal scored more with their refreshing offensive play in the second half

Arsenal increased their lead 10 minutes into the second half. Xhaka, who has been given much attacking freedom this season, scoring with a good shot. The Gunners looked to have a stranglehold on the match by that time and Palace hardly had a clue.
However, the guests managed to pull one back from a corner and then the unlucky Zaha saw his left-footed shot missing the target by a whisker. Arteta replaced Trossard and Zinchenko with Jesus and Kieran Tierney, respectively.
Jesus looked quite fresh and put in a commanding performance with his fluid movement and intelligent passing. Both substitutes also played a role in the Gunners’ fourth goal, as Jesus carried the ball into the box and then a faulty clearance took it to Tierney. The left back’s cross found Saka wonderfully for the Gunners’ cushion goal.

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