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Palace defeat piles more pressure on Arsenal boss Wenger

Fourth consecutive away defeat in Premier League as Gunners struggle to stay in touch with Champions League places

10 April, 2017 — By Paul Cowling

Arsene Wenger: ‘I can understand the fans’ disappointment. It was painful, but we did play with a desire to win the game’

Premier League
CRYSTAL PALACE 3, ARSENAL 0

ARSENE Wenger admitted “it will now be difficult to get fourth spot” after a crushing 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace put the Gunners manager under more pressure.

The result at Selhurst Park was Arsenal’s fourth consecutive away league defeat and leaves Wenger struggling to keep the club in touch with the Champions League places.

After the match, the clearly subdued Frenchman expressed real disappointment at the result.

Former Spurs winger Andros Townsend gives Crystal Palace the lead at Selhurst Park

“It looks as if we just can’t win away at the moment,” he said. “Crystal Palace were sharper than us, and were more decisive. We just couldn’t score.

“I also think it will now be difficult to get fourth spot.”

With both Petr Cech and David Ospina sidelined through injury, Wenger brought in goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez for only his fourth Premier League start. And the 24-year-old Argentine endured a nervy evening.

Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin pushes forward during the Gunners’ defeat on Monday night

Arsenal dominated possession but were restricted to a handful of chances. The first of those came on nine minutes when Mohammed Elneny’s goal-bound effort was palmed away by Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy.

Palace took the lead on 17 minutes thanks to former Tottenham player Andros Townsend, who swept home a Wilfred Zaha cross.

Arsenal went further behind when Yohan Cabaye curled the ball over Martinez from just outside the penalty area on 63 minutes.

Alexis Sanchez failed to find the net, despite Arsenal dominating possession

Five minutes later it was 3-0. Palace were awarded a penalty after Martinez was adjudged to have brought down Townsend. Luka Milivojevic thumped the ball into the back of the net to compound a miserable evening for the visitors.

Cries of “Arsene Wenger we want you to stay” came from the Palace fans, followed by “we want four”.

The fourth goal never came, but the reckoning for Wenger could be edging closer if some Arsenal fans have their way. Many in the away section were clearly bemused by their side’s meek surrender.

Arsene Wenger leaves the pitch after seeing his side’s poor run of form away from home continue

When it was suggested that some fans were chanting that the players “weren’t fit to wear the shirt”, Wenger remained defiant.

“I can understand the fans’ disappointment. It was painful, but we did play with a desire to win the game,” he said. “I don’t think we lacked passion.”

ARSENAL: Martinez, Bellerin, Gabriel, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Elneny (Ramsey, 58); Walcott (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 69), Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck (Giroud, 58).
Subs not used: Gibbs, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Macey
Attendance: 25,648

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