Arsenal’s push for a top-four finish was given a reality check as they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday night.
The Gunners, having watched the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United drop points over the weekend, needed a win to consolidate their top-four hopes, but Palace, under former Gunner Patrick Vieira had other ideas.
The Gunners were sluggish in the opening minutes, allowing the hosts to dominate possession in key areas with Conor Gallagher in particular impressive in the middle of the park.
They turned the possession into a goal with 15 minutes on the clock when Jean-Philippe Mateta found some space inside the box and powered his header past the goalkeeper, giving him no chance.
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Before the Gunners could respond, Jordan Ayew made it 2-0 midway through the opening period, striking the ball towards goal from the edge of the penalty box and beating the keeper from close range.
Alexandre Lacazette got Arsenal’s first open chance just before the half-hour mark, but his header went miles over the crossbar.
Aaron Ramsdale was forced to make a save just before the break, keeping out Jean-Philippe Mateta’s low drive to the middle after he created some space.
The second half was a balanced affair with few clear chances to both sides, even though the Gunners seemed the most likely to find the back of the net.
Arsenal appealed for a penalty five minutes into the second period when Bukayo Saka went down under a challenge from Kouyate, but the referee could not have any of it as play continued.
Smith Rowe and Odegaard had clear chances to pull one back for the Gunners, but both their efforts could not find the target.
With 17 minutes to go, the hosts got the chance to increase their tally from the spot when Odegaard brought down Wilfried Zaha inside the box, giving Paul Tierney little to ponder over as he awarded the penalty.
The Ivory Coast international stepped up to easily send Ramsdale the wrong way to make it 3-0.
There were no more goals in the remaining quarter of an hour or so, as Palace moved into the top half of the table.
Arsenal, on the other hand, will rue the missed chance to regain their fourth spot, which they lost to London rivals Tottenham, who beat Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.