Dubai trip does the trick as refreshed Arsenal thrash Crystal Palace

Mikel Arteta's team return to form with 5-0 win on Saturday

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Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 5-0 drubbing of London rivals Crystal Palace to climb one place to third in the Premier League on Saturday.

Centre-back Gabriel did most of the damage before half-time as he headed in the opener and then forced Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson into an own goal.

Leandro Trossard made it 3-0 on the hour mark before substitute Gabriel Martinelli struck twice in stoppage time.

Victory moved Mikel Arteta's men level with Manchester City and Aston Villa, two points behind leaders Liverpool.

It was a big turnaround for the Gunners who had won just once in seven games prior to a two-week winter break. However, a warm-weather training camp in Dubai seems to have refreshed last season's runners-up.

Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko returned and the Gunners were ahead seconds after the 10-minute mark when Gabriel leveraged the shoulders of Palace defender Chris Richards to head home Declan Rice's corner.

The Gunners doubled their advantage in the 37th minute when Gabriel nodded Bukayo Saka's corner towards Henderson's net and was initially awarded the goal, which stood after a VAR check but subsequently changed to an own goal for the Palace keeper.

The chances kept coming for Arsenal, who were denied a possible penalty after a VAR consultation, and they were soon three goals ahead after Jesus' pinpoint pass found Trossard, who weaved around Nathaniel Clyne and neatly finished to the top left.

Substitute Martinelli then fired in the hosts' fourth, then a near-identical fifth. Arsenal's victory ended a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.

"Today we were much more efficient in the opponents' box particularly than the last few games," Arteta said.

"Last few games we had moments playing better than today but this is about scoring goals. This is the second part of the season we want to tackle it with aggression and motivation."

After the win, Saka said the winter break in Dubai seems to have done its job.

"It's really important. First thing was to win today but that early goal helped. It calmed us and we could control the game more. I thought Gabriel Martinelli was going to get a hat-trick at one point," Saka told TNT Sports.

"Dubai was really nice for us to have that break. We weren't in the best form before that and it helped us refresh and work on the things we needed to."

Palace boss Roy Hodgson admitted his team lost the plot fairly early.

"The worst thing is that three of the goals all came from corner kicks, two from theirs and one from one of ours and they started a very quick counter and 3-0 down you are up against it," Hodgson was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"I decided to give some of the younger players a chance on the basis we played in midweek and some of the players had worked very hard, but 3-0 down against a rampant Arsenal it was asking for trouble and asking for the two quite simple goals at the end."

Updated: January 20, 2024, 3:52 PM