REPORT: Arsenal 5-0 Crystal Palace - Gunners answer their critics with five-star display

Arsenal bounced back from their recent troubles with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Crystal Palace. A Gabriel header and a Dean Henderson own goal had put the Gunners into the ascendency in the first half before Leandro Trossard clinched the three points midway through the second. A late Gabriel Martinelli brace put the gloss on proceedings. The win sees Arsenal climb up to third in the table, just two points off the leaders.

The North London side took to the field hoping to put aside their pre-winter break worries and welcomed back both Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko to the starting line up, who had both missed the defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup third round. As North London Forever echoed, Arsenal were looking for a fast start and that is exactly what they got, with Gabriel rising highest to head home a Declan Rice corner in the 11th minute. Nerves settled.

The Gunners continued to press home their superiority and dominated much of the first half, restricting Palace to a few speculative shots from distance. In the 37th minute, they doubled their lead, and once again it came from a well-orchestrated set piece, this time from the opposite flank. Bukayo Saka whipped a delicious corner into the far post, where Gabriel was present once again to force the ball into the back of the net via a deflection off of Henderson. 2-0 and coasting going into the break. 

In truth, Arsenal never looked under pressure, and just 15 minutes into the second half the points were secured. David Raya claimed a floated cross from Will Hughes, before spotting the opportunity for a quick counter attack and bowling the ball into the path of Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian raced into the Palace half and rolled a perfectly-timed pass into the feet of the on-rushing Trossard, who stepped in side before smashing the ball beyond the helpless Henderson. Game over. 

As the game drifted to its conclusion, Arteta took the opportunity to rotate his squad and give some important minutes to players such as Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Jorginho, Jakub Kiwior and Gabriel Martinelli. And it was the Brazilian who had the final say on the game, notching not once but twice in stoppage time. As Nketiah found himself in a pocket of space, he played a perfectly timed pass into the path of Martinelli, who opened his body up and slotted the ball into the far corner to seemingly add the shine to a thoroughly professional performance. However, there was time for more. Jorginho collected the ball in the centre of the pitch, lofted it out to the left, allowing Martinelli a free run on goal. He strode into the box, opened his body up, and curved his shot into the bottom corner in an almost carbon-copy of his first just seconds before. The cherry added to the icing on top of the cake. 

Arsenal now have a break of ten days before their next fixture, a trip to The City Ground to face Nottingham Forest where they will be hoping to keep the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City.