Arsenal got back to winning ways on Saturday by obliterating Crystal Palace 5-0 at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners essentially dominated the match from start to finish and the visiting supporters even protested their team with banners following the result.

Both clubs entered the weekend desperately needing to right the ship. Arsenal dropped down to fourth in the Premier League table after previously leading the division.

Palace, on the other hand, had won just one of their last nine top-flight matches and found themselves 14th in the standings.

Arsenal grab early lead from another set piece goal

The hosts started Saturday’s game on the front foot with some slick passing and a healthy amount of possession. Their persistence going forward paid off in the 11th minute when Gabriel put his team ahead with a dominating header.

Declan Rice initially sent a quality ball from a corner kick towards his teammate inside Palace’s box. The center back then latched on to the pass and emphatically headed the ball into the back of the net. It was just the Brazilian’s second goal of the current campaign. However, the strike was Arsenal’s ninth total goal from a corner in league play. No other team in the English top flight has scored more from the set piece.

Arsenal then doubled their lead from yet another corner kick routine in the 37th minute. This time from the opposite side of the pitch, Bukayo Saka essentially mirrored Rice’s perfect pass from before. The winger’s pass somehow traveled all the way through the Palace box and reached Gabriel just inches in front of goal.

Although the defender once again seemingly scored a header, Premier League officials eventually determined that the strike was officially an own goal. Gabriel’s header struck goalkeeper Dean Henderson before landing in the back of the net.

Palace players immediately protested the goal because they felt that Ben White impeded Henderson. Nevertheless, replays showed that the Arsenal defender did not commit a foul in the play. VAR also confirmed that there was no infraction by White as well. As a result, the Gunners went into the halftime break with a two-goal lead.

Hosts weather early Palace storm to put game to bed

While the Gunners dominated the opening period, Palace started the second half fairly well. The visitors began to settle a bit and had a decent spell of possession. Eberechi Eze had his team’s best chance in the half’s early stages with a dangerous long-range shot.

Nevertheless, the Gunners hit their opponents on the counterattack with another goal in the 59th minute. Goalkeeper David Raya sprung his team forward with a clever quick throw out to Gabriel Jesus on the right flank. The Brazilian raced up the pitch and unselfishly squared a pass to Leandro Trossard in on goal. The attacker collected the ball, took a touch, and fired a shot into the back of the net.

With the Gunners cruising, manager Mikel Arteta made some alterations as a few of his players seemingly suffered minor knocks. Declan Rice was first replaced in the 73rd minute after apparently mouthing the word “hammy,” as if to signify a possible hamstring injury.

Gabriel was then substituted in the 81st minute after a previous clash with a Palace player. Both players, however, could walk off of the pitch and it seemed as if they were replaced out of caution.

Martinelli scores twice in added time

Second-half substitute Gabriel Martinelli finished off the match with two goals in added time. Fellow sub Eddie Nketiah waited for the perfect time to play a through ball towards the pacy winger for the first strike. Martinelli raced free on goal and slotted a perfect shot beyond the outstretched Henderson.

Jorginho then played a clever ball over the top to the Brazilian just moments later. Martinelli, like his first goal, placed a shot just inside the far post to complete his brace. Just 101 seconds separated the two goals by the electric winger.

The victory moves Arsenal within two points of league leaders Liverpool. Nevertheless, the Reds still have to play this weekend and can extend their lead atop the table. Palace will attempt to get back on track with a home match against Sheffield United on January 30th.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Colorsport