Arsenal breathed new life into their Premier League title challenge with a 5-0 win over Crystal Palace, getting them back to winning ways. The victory moves Arsenal level with Manchester City and Aston Villa, two points behind leaders Liverpool. Centre-back Gabriel was the star of the match, heading in the opener and forcing an own goal by Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Leandro Trossard added a third goal on the hour mark, while substitute Gabriel Martinelli scored twice in stoppage time. Arsenal had previously struggled, winning just once in seven games before a two-week winter break. The win came as a relief for the team.
Arsenal’s strong performance came after a warm weather training camp in Dubai, which seemed to have refreshed the team. However, Crystal Palace provided little resistance, as they have only won once in 12 games and are in a precarious position above the relegation zone. Arsenal’s lack of a reliable goalscorer up front has been a point of concern, especially as it was a defender who ended the team’s goal drought. The team has been effective from set pieces this season, and they capitalized on this against Palace. Gabriel headed in a corner for the opener, and then got ahead of Chris Richards again to score off another corner before half-time.
Palace’s set-piece issues continued as they conceded from their own set piece. Arsenal goalkeeper Raya collected a cross and quickly set Gabriel Jesus free on the counter-attack. Jesus crossed for Trossard, who calmly cut inside and scored his seventh goal of the season. The defeat leaves Palace still five points above the relegation zone and puts more pressure on their manager Roy Hodgson. Hodgson had faced criticism from his own fans after substituting Eberechi Eze in a recent FA Cup match, and a banner in the away end further showed dissatisfaction with his management.
Gabriel Martinelli added insult to injury as he came off the bench and scored twice in stoppage time. The Brazilian had been dropped from the starting lineup after only scoring two goals in the Premier League this season, but he made an impact when given the chance. He calmly slotted the ball past Henderson twice, sealing Arsenal’s convincing victory.