Crystal Palace beat Arsenal to dent top four hopes

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Crystal Palace beat Arsenal to dent top four hopes

Crystal Palace beat Arsenal to dent the Londoner’s top-four hopes with a convincing 3-0 win at Selhurst Park.

Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew gave Palace a deserved 2-0 half-time lead before a Wilfred Zaha penalty in the second half sealed the game.

Arsenal had been in fine form on the road in the Premier League prior to their trip across London. But they struggled to find any rhythm, with Palace the better side in the opening period.

It took the home side just 16 minutes to find a breakthrough.

Joachim Andersen’s headed a free-kick across the box for Mateta to steer in his fourth league goal of the season. Eight minutes later Anderson again turned provider by picking a perfect pass for Ayew, who controlled well before finding the net for the first time since December.

Arsenal failed to create any openings of note in the first half, with Mateta going close to adding a third for Palace before the interval.

The Gunners improved after the break as Crystal Palace were content to sit back with Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard missing big chances to get their team back in the match.

Zaha then punished their wastefulness as broke on the counter and was awarded a penalty which he converted emphatically. Only Raheem Sterling (23) and Jamie Vardy (21) have been awarded more penalties in Premier League history than the Ivorian.

Arsenal substitute Eddie Nketiah went close for his side but managed to hit the crossbar for what could have been a consolation goal.

Crystal Palace beat Arsenal to hand them a second defeat in their last three league games.

The loss opens the door for Arsenal’s top-four rivals with Arteta’s side still having it all to do to secure a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2016-17.

Fifth-placed Arsenal are level on 54 points with Spurs and three points ahead of West Ham United and Manchester United, albeit with all their top-four rivals having played more games.

There was talk that Arsenal may actually catch up to Chelsea in third, but if this performance is any indication of the future, Arteta’s side will be happy with a Champions League spot.

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