Townsend: ‘We knew we could hit Arsenal on the break’

Date published: Monday 10th April 2017 10:16

Andros Townsend has revealed Crystal Palace were confident they could hit Arsenal on the break on Monday night.

And the hosts did exactly that as they earned a 3-0 win with just 28% possession.

Former Tottenham man Townsend opened the scoring before Yohan Cabaye’s well-taken second was added to from the penalty spot by Luka Milivojevic.

Large sections of Arsenal’s support ended the night with a chorus of “Arsene Wenger, we want you to go” and “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” – with protests against the 67-year-old likely to ramp up as they remain sixth following this damaging defeat.

Townsend said:  “It was an incredible victory. We’re full of confidence and we were confident we could do it tonight after the win at Chelsea.

“We had to work extremely hard. We knew the pressure was off and we could hit them on the counter attack.

“The plan was about getting the ball to Christian Benteke and then getting the bits off him. We implemented that to a tee.

“We need to get our heads back in the game and focus on Saturday now. We need to get another three points against Leicester to help us towards survival. We didn’t do that after we beat Chelsea, which cancelled out that result.

“Sam Allardyce has been incredible. I was on the wrong end of the Sam Allardyce factor when I was at Newcastle last season but he looks to have worked his magic and hopefully we can get enough points to survive.”

Allardyce revealed that his players had been well drilled in how to keep Arsenal going sideways.

“Tactically the players were aware of how to beat Arsenal. The first thing was to defend and frustrate them, keep them playing sideways, then use the space behind the full-backs. Arsenal have been weak defensively, they leave the centre-backs exposed,” Allardyce told Sky Sports.

“We won a lot of possession off them and created lots of chances. Cabaye’s goal, what a finish – and that was down to us pressing them.

“It wasn’t a shock for me because we played Chelsea and won that game. The result might be a shock, but we did that again and did it better. We all know Arsenal are going through their worst spell for years, but the only way to take advantage is by playing well. Everything worked perfectly for us today.”

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