Arsenal 4-1 thrashing of Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon earned them another piece of English Football League history.
Arsenal faced no new manager bounce against the Eagles, who replaced Gunners veteran Patrick Vieira just two days before the game, with the possibility to leapfrog FA Cup-contending Manchester City at the top of the standings.
Bukayo Saka’s brace was complemented by goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka, with Jeffrey Schlupp’s effort serving as a scant consolation for the visitors.
Thus, Arsenal will now go into the international break eight points ahead of the incumbent champions. In doing so, Mikel Arteta’s current crop have set a new record in London derbies.
Arsenal in English Football record books
Arsenal’s win over Palace was their ninth London derby victory this season. No other side has ever won this many derbies in a single season.
Arteta’s team has earned 28 points from a possible 30 in games against other London clubs this season. The Gunners only lost those two points against Brentford in a 1-1 draw at the Emirates last month.
After being eliminated from the Europa League on Thursday and losing Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba to injuries, Arteta was naturally pleased with his team’s reaction at the Emirates.
“I’m really happy, very pleased with the way we started the game. I was really happy with the way they reacted after Thursday, and we took any question mark away from it,”
Arsenal.com quotes Arteta as saying in his post-game press conference.
“We showed a lot of determination, a lot of purpose in our way of playing. I’m really happy to perform the way we did after playing 120 minutes, after losing two big players for us and to still compete and win the game how we did.”
Owing to the injuries to Saliba and Tomiyasu, Arteta called in Rob Holding for his first Premier League start of the season, and the Englishman fit right in.
Holding won 11 of his 15 ground and aerial duels on the day, while also clearing five balls and completing five of five long ball efforts.
With Saliba, who has withdrew from France’s team for the Euro 2024 qualifiers, reportedly facing several weeks out with a back ailment, Holding could be called upon in some critical games during the run-in, and Saka was full of praise for his compatriot.
“I gave him a big hug when he came into the changing room because he deserves it,”
The 21-year-old said in an interview with Arsenal’s media channels.
“He was magnificent. We need that, you know, when he’s coming in to stay at the level that we’ve been playing. He was unbelievable today, so credit to him.”
Arsenal’s first game after the international break will be against Leeds United on April 1, followed by a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool eight days later.
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