Crystal Palace strengthened their survival bid and dented Arsenal’s top-four hopes with a superb 3-0 win at Selhurst Park tonight.
Andros Townsend gave Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead with a close-range finish on 17 minutes, despite Arsenal’s dominance in possession in the first period.
The Gunners were second best after the break, and it was 2-0 just after the hour mark through Yohan Cabaye’s looping effort, before Luka Milivojevic put Palace three ahead from the penalty spot after Emiliano Martinez brought down Townsend.
The result means Arsene Wenger’s side are seven points off fourth-placed Manchester City albeit with a game in hand, while Palace are six points clear of the relegation zone, also with a game in hand.
Arsenal have now lost four consecutive Premier League away games for the first time under Wenger, leaving them 20 points off Chelsea at the top and the same distance off Crystal Palace.
Both sides were unchanged for the clash after the midweek fixtures, and it was Arsenal who went closest early on, with Mohamed Elneny forcing Wayne Hennessey into a good save from long range.
Despite having very little possession in the opening stages, Palace were ahead on 17 minutes through Townsend, who turned home from eight yards after Wilfried Zaha’s low delivery into the box.
Palace could have easily been 2-0 up going into the break through Christian Benteke, who caused Arsenal problems throughout the game, but his effort at the near post when one-on-one with Martinez was tipped round the post by the goalkeeper.
Benteke then saw a deflected effort on the turn blocked superbly by Hector Bellerin, before the striker had the ball in the net from a rebounded shot, only to be flagged marginally offside.
And Palace deservedly went 2-0 up on 63 minutes through Cabaye, whose looping effort from just inside the area found the corner of the net following Zaha’s centre.
Referee Michael Oliver then awarded Palace a penalty just five minutes later after Martinez came racing out to clean out both Bellerin and Townsend inside the box.