Arsenal will head into the international break eight points clear in the Premier League title race after Bukayo Saka scored twice in a 4-1 home defeat of Crystal Palace on Sunday.
With chasers Manchester City otherwise engaged this weekend in the FA Cup, Arsenal took full advantage with Gabriel Martinelli opening the scoring and Granit Xhaka also on target.
Jeffrey Schlupp got Palace’s first goal in five league games to briefly raise their hopes in the second half but Arsenal were never going to miss the chance to tighten their grip on top spot as they chase a first English title for 19 years.
🌶️ BRILLIANT FROM BUKAYO
🤩 SAKA RESTORES OUR THREE-GOAL CUSHION WITH A CURLED FINISH
🔴 4-1 🦅 (74) pic.twitter.com/ZDZXcXzgs1
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 19, 2023
Arsenal now have 69 points from 28 games with reigning champions City on 61 with a game in hand.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side bowed out of the Europa League on penalties to Sporting on Thursday but a sixth successive league victory looked in the bag by halftime with Martinelli opening the scoring from Saka’s pass in the 28th minute.
Saka then doubled the lead in the 43rd when he guided home a low shot from Ben White’s pass.
Arsenal were running riot when Xhaka made it 3-0 10 minutes into the second half but Schlupp replied just past the hour and there were a few jittery moments before Saka made sure with his 12th league goal of the season in the 74th.
Palace, who sacked manager Patrick Vieira this week, stay in 12th place but are only three points above the relegation zone.