Watching the likes of Tottenham, West Ham and Wolves all pick up their own victories over the weekend, all eyes were firmly on Arsenal as they made the trip to Selhurst Park on Monday night.
However, missing out on a chance to break back into the top-four, Mikel Arteta’s side were hit with a woeful 3-0 drumming against a Crystal Palace side who have continued to shine under a former Arsenal icon.
With Patrick Vieira guiding the Eagles into the top-half, Palace certainly laid down their own marker on home soil as goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha wrapped up a largely routine victory in south London.
On a night that the Gunners will be eager to forget, we have taken a look at the main talking points following Arsenal’s 3-0 drumming at Selhurst Park.
Vieira’s Eagles keep flying high
While most of the headlines following Monday’s showdown will be stollen by Arsenal’s woeful display across the capital, there is no doubt that Crystal Palace deserve a host of praise.
Although many might have been shocked to have seen Patrick Vieira arrive in south London last summer, the former Arsenal skipper has overseen quite the turnaround at Selhurst Park during the early stages of his tenure.
Heading into March’s international break by booking their spot in the semi-final of this year’s FA Cup thanks to a 4-0 romp against relegation scrappers Everton, the Eagles now have their sights firmly set on completing a Premier League best campaign.
Along with Monday’s eye-catching 3-0 win skyrocketing them as high as ninth in the table, Palace have already scored more goals than they managed throughout the whole of the 2020/21 campaign under Roy Hodgson.
Recording just their second-ever Premier League victory against Arsenal at Selhurst Park, the former Nice boss also finds his side enjoying an extended seven-match unbeaten run across all competitions.
With Veira electing to take the Eagles in a far more youthful direction over the summer, the likes of England internationals Conor Gallagher and Marc Guéhi once again underlined why their stock is at an all-time high.
Just a blip for Arsenal?
Heading into March’s international break with what was a gritty 1-0 win away at Aston Villa, it appeared that the mood in Arsenal’s camp was at a red-hot high under Mikel Arteta.
However, while the Gunners might have found a route back into the Champions League places last month, Monday’s woeful display across the capital will undoubtedly be a huge concern for Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man.
While both Martin Ødegaard and Emile Smith Rowe might have wasted golden chances in the second-half here, the Gunners simply couldn’t live with Palace’s intensity and were second-best all over the park.
Suffering just their second Premier League defeat at Selhurst Park, things do not get any easier for Arteta as it was confirmed prior to kick-off that defensive talisman Kieran Tierney has suffered a knee injury.
Undergoing a scan on Tuesday and with it looking like the Scotland international could face a spell on the sidelines, deputy left-back Nuno Tavares endured a nightmare night on Monday after coming in.
Also having to watch Thomas Partey limp off late in the second-half, Arsenal will be desperate
to show that this was just a minor blip.
The race for the top-four takes another twist
Watching Tottenham storm their way to a 5-1 romp against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal fans knew that they really couldn’t afford any slip-ups ahead of their trip to Selhurst Park.
Failing to reclaim their spot in the lucrative fourth-spot and also passing on the chance to move within touching distance of Chelsea, the race for the Champions League still hangs firmly in the balance.
While the Gunners might still hold a game in hand over their bitter rivals, a seven-goal swing in Spurs’ favor over the weekend will certainly be a major blow to Arsenal’s top-four ambitions.
Likewise, watching both Wolves and Europa League quarter-finalists West Ham pick up their own respective victories against Aston Villa and Everton, it will really become a question of how Arteta’s side handles the pressure.
With The Athletic reporting earlier on Monday that the rescheduled north London derby is likely to take place on May 12th — 10 days before the end of the campaign, that is already shaping up to be a winner takes all showdown.
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Gallagher, Kouyate, Schlupp, Ayew, Mateta, Zaha
Subs: Édouard, McArthur, Milivojevic
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares, Xhaka, Partey, Saka, Ødegaard, Smith Rowe, Lacazette
Subs: Martinelli, Lokonga, Nketiah
Goals: Mateta 16′, Ayew 24′, Zaha 74′ pen
Yellow Cards: Partey, Xhaka
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Paul Tierney
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