Premier League • England

Arteta highlights two players as Arsenal go eight points clear after 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace at the Emirates

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has given his reaction to another emphatic Arsenal win, with the Gunners defeating relegation-threatened Crystal Palace 4-1 at the Emirates. 

The Gunners have now extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to eight points, with second-placed Manchester City having played one game less than them.

Palace actually began the game on the front foot, with Wilfried Zaha coming agonisingly close to a breakthrough after beating two Arsenal defenders and then hitting Aaron Ramsdale’s post.

However, Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 28th minute and from then on, it was Arteta’s team that dominated the game.

Bukayo Saka got Arsenal’s second just before halftime with a neat finish into the bottom corner, at which point the contest looked like a foregone conclusion.

Granit Xhaka then got the Gunners’ third ten minutes after the restart, finishing clinically after some well-worked build-up play.

Jeffrey Schlupp gave Palace a glimmer of hope after scoring from a corner in the 63rd minute, but it was Saka who confirmed the three points for Arsenal converting from a Kieran Tierney cross with 16 minutes remaining.

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Arteta: ‘We left Thursday in the past’

Arteta was understandably very pleased with is team’s performance, praising his players from bouncing back from a disappointing defeat to Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Thursday.

As reported by BBC SportArteta said: “The desire and the energy that we put in right from the beginning impressed me most. We were really determined and focused and left Thursday in the past.

“After playing 120 minutes, they have to come back here and do it again against a team with a lot of needs. Palace have not got the results lately but they have be very tough to beat.

But, we were dominant and deserved to win the game. Today, in the box when we had those openings, we defined the game in the right way.

” [To be eight points clear] feels very good, especially with the way we have played and the results we have picked up.

“Now we must stop and make sure everyone comes back from the internationals with the same mindset. We have Leeds next and we put the focus there.”

Arteta praises Martinelli and Saka

The player who missed the decisive penalty against Sporting was Martinelli, so the Spanish coach was particularly pleased to see him on the scoresheet.

“The reaction he had after missing a penalty [on Thursday] was great. There is always the question, but I asked him yesterday how he was and he said: ‘I want to be in the team’,” Arteta added.

Bukayo Saka also became the first Premier League player to both score and assist over 10 goals this season with an excellent brace over Palace today.

“He was disappointed not to get a hat-trick. That is what we need. We need our front players firing and making a difference and today they did that again,” Arteta said.

After today’s victory, Arsenal are now the first side in English Football League history to win as many as nine London derbies in a single league season, something that they can be very proud of.

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