Bukayo Saka scored a brace in Arsenal’s 4-1 Premier League win over Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.
Early on, Crystal Palace managed to give Arsenal some problems, with Wilfried Zaha running with the ball on the left flank. He cut inside to shoot with his right, but his shot clattered the post before bouncing back off of Aaron Ramsdale’s legs and going out for a corner kick.
In the 28th minute, the opener came after Saka clipped a cross into the box for Gabriel Martinelli, who managed to evade Joel Ward and drill a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner.
Arsenal were well on top after the first goal, and scored their second right on the brink of half-time. After Granit Xhaka sent a cross across the face of goal, Saka collected the loose ball, and played a one-two with Ben White before curling home.
Ten minutes after the restart, Leandro Trossard played a through-ball to put Xhaka in behind the Palace defence and the Swiss converted calmly under pressure.
Palace pulled one back in the 63rd minute from a corner. Jeffrey Schlupp reacted the quickest, chesting the ball down before striking it home from six yards out.
Saka scored his second in the 74th minute with a first-time shot after Palace failed to clear their lines. It was the winger’s 12th goal this season, a new career high in the Premier League.
Up next, Arsenal will continue their title charge against Leeds United, while Palace host Leicester City.
TALKING POINT: ARSENAL MARCH ON IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
It was all set up for Arsenal to wobble today. They crashed out in the Europa League in painful fashion, losing out on a quarter-final spot in a penalty shoot-out. They were facing a side that had just sacked their manager after a poor run of form, and the potential unknown that entailed.
But Mikel Arteta’s men didn’t let up, and managed to successfully dismantle Palace with ease. They handled the pressure well when they didn’t have the ball, and were decisive as ever when they did, scoring four well-worked goals.
With Manchester City not playing this gameweek due to their FA Cup tie, Arsenal have successfully widened the gap to eight points for the week, and another win will do wonders as they continue the race for their first Premier League title since 2004.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: BUKAYO SAKA
Arsenal, as a collective, played well, but once again Saka starred in their display. On top of his two goals and an assist, he managed three key passes, and was a constant headache for Tyrick Mitchell and Marc Guehi.
The 21-year-old looks like a veteran in the league, and he has now become the first player to reach both 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League this season. He is also the first Arsenal player to reach double figures for both in a Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez in 2016/17. His assist was also his 25th Premier League assist overall. Only Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney and Trent Alexander-Arnold reached 25 assists at a younger age in the competition.
ARSENAL: Aaron Ramsdale 6, Oleksandr Zinchenko 7, Gabriel 7, Rob Holding 7, Ben White 7, Granit Xhaka 8, Thomas Partey 7, Martin Odegaard 7, Gabriel Martinelli 7, Leandro Trossard 7, Bukayo Saka 9.
SUBS: Kieran Tierney 6, Gabriel Jesus 6, Jorginho 6, Emile Smith Rowe 6, Jakub Kiwior 6.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Joe Whitworth 5, Tyrick Mitchell 6, Marc Guehi 6, James Tonkins 6, Joel Ward 6, Jeffrey Schlupp 6, Cheick Doucoure 6, Luka Milivojevic 6, Wilfried Zaha 6, Odsonne Edouard 5, Michael Olise 6.
SUBS: Will Hughes 6, Jordan Ayew 6, Eberechi Eze 6, Naouirou Ahamada 6.
28′ – GOAL! ARSENAL 1-0 CRYSTAL PALACE: THE DEADLOCK IS BROKEN AS MARTINELLI HAS SCORED FOR THE LEAGUE LEADERS. Saka gets the ball, and crosses it across the box for Martinelli, who takes it onto his left, away from Ward, to fire it past the Palace keeper.
43′ – GOAL! ARSENAL 2-0 CRYSTAL PALACE: SAKA SCORES ARSENAL’S SECOND! The winger chases the ball after it flashed across the face of goal. He lays it off to White, before getting it back and taking a curling shot that goes straight to the back of the net.
55′ – GOAL! ARSENAL 3-0 CRYSTAL PALACE: XHAKA GETS IN ON THE ACTION! It’s a great one-two between him and Trossard to get the Swiss through on goal to score the third of the day. The Palace defenders are all over the place.
63′ – GOAL! ARSENAL 3-1 CRYSTAL PALACE: PALACE PULL ONE BACK! From a corner, Schlupp reacts the quickest, and strikes the ball into the back of the net. There is a wait, as VAR checks for a handball, but it’s given in the end.
74′ – GOAL! ARSENAL 4-1 CRYSTAL PALACE: SAKA SCORES HIS SECOND! AND A POSSIBLE PALACE COMEBACK IS SURELY GONE NOW! Tierney crosses it to Saka who shoots first-time on his left, and surely kills off the game.
- Arsenal earned their 22nd Premier League win of the season, as many as they managed in the whole of last term, and their most-ever wins in their first 28 matches of a league campaign.
- Crystal Palace remain one of only two sides yet to win a league match in England’s top four tiers in 2023, along with League One’s Forest Green Rovers.
Read the full article here