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EPL: Crystal Palace stun listless Arsenal

The Eagles proving their result at Stamford Bridge a week ago was no flash in the pan!

SNS | New Delhi |

Relegation-threatened Crystal Palace stunned Arsenal 3-0 in their English Premier League tie at Selhurst Park on Monday, the Eagles churning out a stellar all-round performance to put them six points above the relegation zone.

Barely a week ago, Sam Allardyce’s men had scripted an unlikely smash-and-grab victory over league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but their performance against Arsene Wenger men was even better.

The Eagles got off to a brilliant start, with Andros Townsend finishing off a flowing move in the 17th minute to take a vital lead. In-form winger Wilfried Zaha had slipped while controlling Yohan Cabaye’s though ball, but still managed to send in a low cross which Townsend toe-poked past Arsenal keeper Damian Martinez.

Martinez was in the side after the Gunners’ first two keepers, Petr Tech and David Ospinia, were both ruled out due to injuries, but on the whole Wenger fielded a very strong XI. Of course, defensive stalwart Laurent Koscieny was missing but a team of Arsenal’s resources should have  had enough quality in their bench to eke out a result at Selhurt Park.

But with talisman Alexis Sanchez and the mercurial Mesut Ozil having an off day, Arsenal never truly threatened Wayne Hennessey in the first half. Defensive midfielder Thomas Elneny had a shot from distance but that was well-saved by the Eagles custodian. Arsenal were dominating possession and Sanchez had a chance inside the box but his left-footed shot was comfortably gathered by Henneseey as the Eagles went into the interval leading 1-0.

If Arsenal’s first-half performance was poor, the second was calamitous as they failed conjure anything of note in the final 45 minutes.

Palace sensed an upset was on the cards and their counter-attacking tactics paid off handsomely when Yohan Cabaye sent in a looping shot from just inside the box which sailed into the far corner in the 63rd minute. Once again, the excellent Zaha was instrumental in the goal, sending in a inch-perfect cutback for Cabaye to stroke home.

And the result was confirmed five minutes later when Luka Milivojevic scored his first goal in England from the penalty spot. Martinez had caught Townsend inside the box and left referee Michael Oliver with no chance but to point to the spot. The Serbian midfielder picked his corner and despite Martinez going the right way, Palace were 3-0 up on the night.

While Allardyce’s men remain in 16th place and aren't quite out of the woods yet, another win or two from their next seven games would see them over the finish line.

For Arsenal, as expected, the result doesn't make for easy viewing as Manchester United are now three points clear in 5th place and a season without any European football is a likely possibility at this stage.