Bukayo Saka runs the show as Arsenal cruise past rudderless Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace may have arrived at the Emirates without a manager and winless in 2023, but Arsenal had good reason to be wary. When they faced Everton last month – also on a long winless run and heading into their first game after Frank Lampard’s sacking – few foresaw the relegation contenders claiming a precious win. Everton were better set than Palace, however: Lampard’s successor, Sean Dyche, was already in place. Patrick Vieira’s time at Palace came to an abrupt end on Friday morning, giving Paddy McCarthy, drafted in from his role as under-21s coach, a little over 48 hours to salvage a game plan from the wreckage. A task that proved too great as they were soundly beaten 4-1.From the start Arsenal looked determined to stop their opponents’ disrupted preparations from coming together. Amid a thick grey fog drifting from the away end, where flares and smoke bombs greeted the first whistle, the hosts’ rhythmic pressing game clicked into gear immediately, Leandro Trossard smothering the first attempted pass of the game in a sign of things to come. Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka probed the flanks, the former threading through Trossard who failed to tempt Stuart Attwell, the referee, into awarding an early penalty after going down in a tangle. The visitors struggled to get on the ball, chasing shadows in the acrid haze. Continue reading…

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Football | The Guardian

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