EPL: Saka shines as Arsenal go eight-point clear with win over Palace

Bukayo Saka was once again a standout performer, netting a brace and assisting the opening goal scored by Gabriel Martinelli as Arsenal romped to a 4-1 win over troubled Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The sweet victory has seen the Gunners extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points while Crystal Palace, who were without a manager, are more than ever in danger of slipping into the relegation zone.

Saka also made history by becoming the first player in the Premier League this season to reach double figures for both goals and assists.

Mikel Arteta’s side took full advantage of the absence of their closest challengers, Manchester City, who were playing in the FA Cup while Arsenal looked to make up for their Europa League exit.

Despite a rocky history with his own fans, Granit Xhaka continued his impressive season with a goal to put Arsenal 3-0 up after the break.

Palace, who had sacked former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira the day before, managed to get a consolation goal through Jeffrey Schlupp under the caretaker management of Paddy McCarthy, ending their near seven-hour scoreless run.

“The desire and the energy that we put in right from the beginning impressed me most,” Arsenal manager Arteta told BBC Sport.

“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.

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“Palace have not got the results lately but they have been 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.”

Goalscorer Martinelli added: “Very happy, we needed that win and as I always say, we approach the games as a final and we did that today.

“It was a good goal, good pass from B [Bukayo Saka]. I don’t know if it was to me or someone else but it was a good finish with my weak foot, good goal.

“Saka is a great guy, not just him but the whole team. We are a family but Saka is great and I just love to play with him.”

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