Woeful Arsenal slump to fourth successive Premier League away defeat
Arsenal were beaten 3-0 by Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Selhurt Park tonight.
It was another woeful away-day performance by the Gunners.
The Gunners did not manage a shot on target in the second half.
The fourth successive away defeat keeps Arsenal in 5th place in the Premier League table.
But any hope of salvaging a top 4 finish now seem fanciful given the abject manner of tonight’s defeat.
Arsenal are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City with eight games remaining.
Arsene Wenger named the same starting eleven as in the 3-0 win last Wednesday against West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium.
Shkodran Mustafi was lucky not to be booked in the 6th minute for a foul on Christian Benteke on the edge of the penalty area.
Referee Michael Oliver played advantage, but Luka Milivojevic shot narrowly wide.
Oliver gave Mustafi a stern lecture but surprisingly didn’t show a yellow card.
Arsenal had their first shot in the 9th minute. Mohamed Elneny shot from outside the penalty area, but Wayne Hennessey tipped the ball around the post for a corner at full stretch.
It was Crystal Palace though who scored the opening in the 17th minute.
It came from a long goal kick clearance from Hennessey. Benteke won the aerial challenge against Gabriel. The ball broke toAndros Townsend who played a one-two with Yohan Cabaye.
Cabaye then played it wide to Wilfried Zaha,
The winger’s cross was turned into the net past Emi Martinez by Townsend from the six-yard line.
Alexis Sanchez had two chances to equalise, but sent both narrowly wide of the far post.
Arsenal were grateful to Martinez for keeping the score at 1-0. He tipped a Benteke shot around the post after Granit Xhaka gave the ball away.
Xhaka made a more positive contribution a minute before half-time when hs pass picked out Danny Welbeck. But his shot went narrowly wide of the post with Hennessey beaten.
On the stroke of half-time Hennessey saved Gabriel’s header from Xhaka’s corner.
Arsenal enjoyed 72% of possession in the first half but not for the first time this season looked vulnerable defensively.
The home side started on the front foot in the second half.
Martinez kept out Townsend’s low strike, but Benteke turned it into the net – but luckily for Arsenal from a offside position.
The Eagles though doubled their lead in the 63rd minute. Cabaye lifting the ball over Martinez from Zaha’s cross. The chance was set up after Benteke won the ball in the air from a throw-in.
Arsenal’s night got even worse five minutes later.
Martinez fouled Townsend in the penalty area.
Milivojevic sent the penalty kick low into the corner to ease Crystal Palace’s relegation problems.
For Arsenal it’s a week before they take the field again against Middlesbrough.
It’s going to be a long week of soul-searching for the Arsenal manager and players.
Arsenal: Martinez 6, Bellerin 4, Monreal 5, Gabriel 4, Mustafi 4, Xhaka 4, Elneny 5 (Ramsey), Walcott 4, Ozil 4, Sanchez 4, Welbeck 4 (Giroud)