Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal: Premier League as it happened

Tony Mogan
  • Gunners humiliated at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace move six points clear of the relegation zone after comprehensive win.
  • Andros Townsend opened the scoring after 16 minutes, pouncing on a Zaha cross.
  • Yohan Cabaye doubled the lead with a curling effort from 18 yards out.
  • Luka Milivojevic completed the rout from the penalty spot after Townsend was brought down by Emiliano Martinez.
  • Arsenal remain in sixth place, seven points off fourth place Manchester City.
  • Arsenal fans chant 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' during final stages of the match.
Arsene Wenger

Thankfully for Arsenal, this is over. Crystal Palace are now six points clear of the relegation zone and on tonight's evidence, have more than enough in their locker to retain their Premier League stays for another year.

As for Arsenal, tonight they have provided perhaps the most spineless performance in their Premier League history.

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Full-time: Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal

Benteke bicycle kick to finish things off? Not quite, the Belgian can't get a clean connection on his acrobatic effort and Arsenal clear.

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Four minutes of time added on here.

And Mamadou Sakho has just backheeled it away to safety. The final insult.

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This has been absolutely wretched from Arsenal. Not to pick on him, but Ozil has just given the ball away on the edge of his own penalty area and his response was to stop moving completely.

Almost four! Townsend lifts a cross in from the left that Benteke watches fall out of the sky before drilling across goal. It looks destined for the far corner, but Monreal gets a crucial foot to it and diverts away.

Luka Milivojević will now make way for former Gunner Mathieu Flamini for the final eight minutes of this match.

Luka Milivojević

January signing Luka Milivojević has made it three.

Here's the first Palace sub of the match; goalscorer Cabaye is replaced by James McArthur.

Close from Bellerin! The Spaniard dances in from the right and tries to clip one over the onrushing Hennessey, but his effort rolls just wide of the far post.

Uh oh. Chants of 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' come down from the Arsenal end. They'd have to be pretty loud to make themselves heard over the roaring home crowd.

After a couple of replays, I think Townsend has bought that; leaving his leg out for the Arsenal goalkeeper to make contact with. The decision has been made however and Luka Milivojevic steps up to hammer home into the bottom left corner.

Goal! Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal (Luka Milivojevic, 67)

Palace have a penalty! Townsend and Bellerin race across goal to reach the ball but Martinez jumps out to try and get there first. He doesn't and it's a clear penalty.

PENALTY - Crystal Palace

Giroud is demanding a penalty but he isn't getting one. Sanchez floats a ball into the Gunners striker but Sakho powers across him to knock the ball out.

Palace double their lead! Arsenal have been woeful this second-half while Palace have stepped up several gears. Again, Townsend and Zaha are involved, with the former threading a pass out wide to his teammate. He looks inside to Cabaye who slips as he pulls back his right peg, but manages to lift a wonderful effort over Martinez into the far top corner.

Goal! Crystal Palace 2-0 Arsenal (Yohan Cabaye, 62)

Here's two changes for the Gunners; Aaron Ramsey on for Elneny and Olivier Giroud on for Welbeck.

Oh dear. Bellerin tries to meet Sanchez's cross with a first time volley but slices it wide of goal.

Arsenal have a sustained period of pressure but they can't crack the Palace defence with an attempted through ball for Walcott eventually trickling out of play. Arsene Wenger looks ready to make some changes with Olivier Giroud warming up.

Puncheon is on the end of the corner but his headed effort is straight down Martinez's throat.

Arsenal are all over the place and looked terrified every time Palace lurch forward. Townsend drives between Monreal and Elneny and forces a ball across goal to Zaha, who sees his effort deflected wide for a corner.

Xhaka pings another pass straight into a Palace player. He's passing has been dreadful tonight.

Palace have the ball in the back of the net! But it won't count; Benteke was stood offside as he tapped home Cabaye's rebounded effort.

Palace almost have a second! Zaha is tormenting Arsenal, drawing two players in before effortlessly skipping between them down the right flank. He drives a ball into the box towards Townsend who lets it go across him to Benteke, but his effort is deflected just wide by Mustafi.

And Palace get us back under way for the second half.

Half-time: Crystal Palace 1-0 Arsenal

Xhaka's passing has been woeful at times this evening but he's just produced a wonderful pass from deep to free Welbeck down the inside right. He opts to take the shot on first time, pinging an effort across goal but it just evades the far post.

Terrific stop from Martinez! Benteke flicks a ball inside when really he had enough time to control and push it forward. No Arsenal player seems interested in chasing his flick however so Zaha retrieves and threads a perfectly weighted pass through for the Belgian. He looks to drill one in at the near post but Martinez is equal to it.

The Frenchman whips it into the box but is comfortably caught by Martinez.

Bellerin is now penalised for a late challenge on Benteke. He was just a fraction behind the Belgian but avoids a booking. Cabaye is standing over the free kick.

When was the last time a Premier League player delivered a good corner kick? It really is a dying art. Xhaka's just whipped in another stinker easily cleared by Palace.

Zaha and Townsend q

These two have been tormenting Palace at times so far tonight. Townsend's goal is the difference as we approach half-time.

Zaha teases Monreal out on the right before cutting inside to find Townsend. He feints to the left before cutting inside to take the shot on his right but he scoops a rubbish effort clean over the bar.

Ozil neatly sidesteps Cabaye and drives into the box. Sakho is across to stop the cross and terrifically gets across to block Sanchez's follow up effort. Fine defending from the Palace loanee.

Palace spring the Arsenal defence open but are denied by an offside flag. A clearance only gets as far as Zaha who threads a sensational ball through for the onrushing Townsend, having fooled the entire Gunners' defence. The flag is up however as Townsend's effort is saved by Martinez.

Moments after Sanchez sees his effort on goal saved by Hennessey, Townsend is causing panic down the other end, drawing in a challenge from Mustafi who is shown a yellow card for taking down the Palace winger again.

Palace have the lead! And it's a horrible goal Arsenal have conceded. Elneny fails to clear the ball and Townsend threads it through to Zaha down the inside right channel. He slips as he tries to get the ball across goal but his scuffed effort still manages to fool Mustafi who slips, allowing Townsend to race and convert from close range.

Goal! Crystal Palace 1-0 Arsenal (Andros Townsend, 16)

Not long after we sang his praises, Martinez slices a clearance straight out for a Palace corner kick.

Terrific stop from Hennessey! Elneny takes on a shot from the edge of the box, a brilliant effort that is curling into the corner of the net. The Palace keeper dive to his right and gets a firm hand behind it however, pushing it wide for a corner.

Martinez in the Arsenal goal has effortlessly dealt with every ball Palace have lobbed in so far Good start from the Argentine.

Benteke pulls out to the left and is picked out by Sakho, but the Belgian is sliced down by a wide challenge from Mustafi. Townsend is onto the loose ball so Michael Oliver plays the advantage, with Milivojevic picking up the ball on the edge of the D and winding up a shot. It's a decent effort, but it veers just off target.

Zaha wins a free-kick which is lumped into the box towards Sakho. The big centre-half shows neat composure, taking the ball down and ushering it inside to Cabaye who is unmarked but he scoops a woeful effort well over the bar.

Arsenal give the ball away in the middle of the park and Palace pounce, moving the ball wide to Townsend he bursts away from Bellerin a little too easily. He manages to get his cross in, aiming for Benteke but Mustafi is on hand to nut it clear.

And Arsenal get us underway at Selhurst Park.

The teams are on their way out from the tunnel, kick-off is minutes away. Here's another look at the teams.

Crystal Palace team to face Arsenal: Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Sakho, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Cabaye, Puncheon, Zaha, Townsend, Benteke

Subs: Speroni, Delaney, Fryers, Flamini, McArthur, Sako, Kaikai

Arsenal team to face Crystal Palace: Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Gabriel, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck

Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud

Lovely night for it in south east London...

Selhurst Park

Arsenal have been delayed finding their way across town to south east London tonight with their coach only arriving at Selhurst Park at 7:15pm. The players were out on the pitch at 7:35pm, meaning they'll get less than 25 minutes to warm up.

It's the same Palace side tonight we saw against Southampton but James McArthur is back on the bench.

Here's that Arsenal team then. Francis Coquelin is back in the squad but after Arsene Wenger sang the praises of the midfield duo of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, he was unlikely to come straight back into the fold tonight. There is also no room for Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who start on the bench.

Now is usually time we meticulously break down the respective line ups, analysing what changes have been made since last time out and why. Arsene Wenger and Sam Allardyce have shot those plans down however in naming the exact same starting XIs...

Crystal Palace team to face Arsenal: Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Sakho, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Cabaye, Puncheon, Zaha, Townsend, Benteke

Subs: Speroni, Delaney, Fryers, Flamini, McArthur, Sako, Kaikai

Arsenal team to face Crystal Palace: Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Gabriel, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck

Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud

BREAKING: Arsene Wenger names an unchanged XI for tonight's clash at Selhurst Park.

After keeping a clean sheet against West Ham United last week and with Petr Cech and David Ospina still out, Emiliano Martinez will guard the Arsenal net again tonight. IBTimes UK spoke to the Argentine after that match against the Hammers, with the stop stopper revealing Arsene Wenger's faith in him convinced him to turn down offers to leave The Emirates.

"I have had many options to leave Arsenal. The manager said no because he wants me here and handed me a new deal (in November). He told us that he has three incredible goalkeepers and that anyone can start. In January, I had more offers but he didn't let me go because he told me that the opportunity would arrive. It arrived against West Ham and I just tried to show him that I can be as good as them or even better.

Emiliano Martinez

"I had offers from many places, from Championship clubs and from foreign clubs but Wenger told me that he trusts in me and he wanted me to stay. He has raised me since I was 16 years old. I trusted in him a lot and he trusted in me.

"(The situation of a third keeper) is difficult. You train more than the rest, you spend more time in the gym than anyone else and after four months without playing (since the EFL Cup tie defeat to Southampton) you have to play a game like this, with a lot of pressure. It's not easy but I am mature, I have the qualities to do it and I showed against West Ham that I can do it."

You can read the full interview with Martinez here.

Palace's season run-in includes a crucial clash at home to relegation rivals Hull City - but the Eagles have clashes with teams at the top of the table slotted in there too.

After tonight's match with Arsenal, they have games against Liverpool (A), Tottenham Hotspur (H), Manchester City (A) and Manchester United (A). It's a fairly unkind schedule that hasn't been lost on Sam Allardyce.

"It's not 'arguably' – we've got the hardest run-in, we have got the hardest run-in. Who can hold their nerve usually decides staying up. You're into single figure games, the bell starts ringing. Time to stand up.

"Our game in hand is Tottenham at home, so not an easy task to take advantage of that, the form they're in, chasing Chelsea. I thought two weeks ago the bottom seven of us would fight it out between us, it's changed dramatically since. Chopping and changing."

Sam Allardyce on Palace's injuries

"Patrick van Aanholt, Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Pape Souare, Yohann Cabaye (calf strain), James McArthur, Connor Wickham, Loic Remy and Fraizer Campbell are all injured. We're thin on the ground now. James McArthur may be back for Arsenal. He's not played a huge amount since his back spasms. Joe Ledley's back after the birth of his child."

Team news: Crystal Palace

Where do you start with Palace's injury problems? They have piled up for the Eagles over the last week or so with Yohann Cabaye, Scott Dann and James Tomkins all picking up knocks of varying severity during their side's last two matches against Chelsea and Southampton. In all, Big Sam is without nine members of his first-team squad tonight but hopes to have James McArthur and Joe Ledley available once again.

Joe Ledley

Team news: Arsenal

The Gunners' Under-23 side were in action this afternoon with Yaya Sanogo putting Reading to the sword with a hat-trick. Seriously. It was a very strong Arsenal side that thumped the Royals 5-2, with Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Debuchy, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Rob Holding all featuring.

They were also joined by Alex Iwobi. The Nigeria international hadn't been carrying an injury - not one disclosed by the club, anyway - so we can only assume the Nigeria international has been dropped from the first-team.

Team news: Arsenal

Francis Coquelin is available once again after recovering from a back problem Emiliano Martinez is expected to continue in goal this evening after Wenger confirmed at a press conference last Friday both Petr Cech and David Ospina are still struggling.

Laurent Koscielny meanwhile is still out, continuing his recovery from an achilles problem.

Francis Coquelin

Things are looking a little rosier for Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace. A run of four consecutive wins – including that remarkable victory at Stamford Bridge – may have been halted by Southampton last Wednesday but they have put real distance between themselves and the bottom two in Middlesbrough and the doomed Sunderland.

Only three points separate them and 18th place Swansea City however and Allardyce will know full well that can disappear over one weekend. Whether Palace are in the Premier League next season will be decided in games at home to Leicester City, Burnley and Hull City, but a win over Arsenal tonight could considerably ease those concerns.

The Wenger Out brigade has quietened somewhat after the thumping 3-0 win over West Ham United. The Gunners are still facing an uphill task in qualifying for next season's Champions League, however, so a slip up tonight won't go down well.

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