Arsenal stopped their rut with a 5-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime, bouncing back after the short winter break.

Having struggled to score over the festive period, the goals were flying in against Palace, crowned by a late Gabriel Martinelli brace off the bench.

In reality, the performance wasn’t too different to recent games, with the Gunners creating several good chances and restricting the opposition at the other end. But this time the crucial moments went Arsenal’s way. 

Unsurprisingly, it took a set-piece to break the deadlock and give Arsenal the lead and subsequently a more comfortable game state with which to control Palace.

One of Arsenal’s biggest strengths last season was their ability to go 1-0 up, allowing them to control the match and pick the opposition off as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser. 

This season, the Gunners have struggled to replicate that but here we saw it again, pouncing with Leandro Trossard’s goal striking quickly from a failed Palace corner and the two late Martinelli goals on the counter.

Another key factor in exploiting the game state was the introductions of Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe with 20 minutes left to play, shortly followed by Jorginho. 

While Smith Rowe took a few touches to get into the game, his ability to turn and carry the ball gave Arsenal a different dimension as they capitalised on the extra space afforded by Palace.

Those three also helped to speed attacks up with their one-touch combination play and Martinelli’s threat in behind. It’s rare for Arsenal to get that sort of space, but taking the lead is a great way to open up the game.

It was a particularly good confidence boost for Smith Rowe and Martinelli, both of whom haven’t had the seasons they’d have hoped for so far.

Mikel Arteta recognised the value they could bring against Palace and both could have vital roles to play as Arsenal compete for the Premier League and Champions League.
The Gunners now get another short break ahead of an away trip to Nottingham Forest on January 30. The goals and good feeling were back against Palace, hopefully it’ll be the start of a winning streak to stay in touch with Liverpool and Manchester City.