|Ivan Toney celebrates with the eventual match winner Neal Maupay after scoring the leveler on his return to active football following his eight-month ban for betting breaches. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)
Arsenal needed a response, a statement result, after their horrific form recently, and while they got a result that answered the question, they could do better with the performance.
How do you criticize a team that just recorded a 5-0 win in the Premier League? Crystal Palace didn’t offer any resistance of note, and it was easy for Gabriel Martinelli to strike twice in the space of 60 seconds at the closing stages of the game.
Michael Olise was missing due to injury, but the Eagles were able to call on Eberechi Eze, who was the only shining light on a gloomy Palace side. Roy Hodgson’s position is under threat after the performance drew banners from the away end, asking the hierarchy to show some balls.
Arsenal did an okay job, but Crystal Palace made it easy. Arsenal also showed some training groundwork with set-piece goals; Gabriel Maghalaes scored the opener from a corner kick with a buccaneering header and saw his second effort taken away from him as it went down as a Dean Henderson own goal.
Arsenal conceded possession to Palace after scoring, but the visitors couldn’t make good use of the ball until Arsenal grew into the game again. The second half saw Leandro Trossard blast home the third before Martinelli came off the bench to score twice in the last minute of added time.
Elsewhere on the day, Brentford heaved a sigh of relief as club captain Ivan Toney came out of his ban with a goal. The England striker had stirred the fans with a statement before the weekend that he wants to play for a big club and that he owes himself a goal as an apology.
Nottingham Forest stunned the Bees with a swift opener, but Toney bent in a free kick around the wall to level matters. It was a game of two sides with points to prove and sheer joy to neutrals as it swung from end to end.
Brentford won 3-2 in the end through goals from Ben Mee and Neal Maupay, with the Dutchman scoring after Chris Wood had leveled matters for the visitors to make it 2-2. Forest went for it, throwing everything forward, but must be anxious after club captain Ryan Yates limped off injured.