Abject Arsenal accused of losing will to fight

Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend blasting home their opening goal in the 3-0 win over Arsenal. It was Palace's first home win against the Gunners since 1979.
Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend blasting home their opening goal in the 3-0 win over Arsenal. It was Palace's first home win against the Gunners since 1979.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsene Wenger insists he still retains the support of his Arsenal flops after they crashed to a dismal 3-0 defeat by struggling Crystal Palace on Monday.

His side suffered their heaviest loss of a wretched Premier League season, as goals from Andros Townsend, Yohan Cabaye and Luka Milivojevic blew away the lacklustre Gunners.

Arsenal were so limp for long periods at Selhurst Park that the club's former star striker Ian Wright claimed Wenger had lost the backing of his squad.

"At least I f****** tried! That dressing room is lost. Brilliant stuff Palace," Wright tweeted.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher also issued a scathing verdict on Sky Sports: "They bottle it, they're cowards, they duck out of challenges."

Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi were particularly wretched at Selhurst Park.

  • Arsenal have conceded three goals in four straight away league games for the first time since 1929.

    4

    The Gunners have lost four consecutive Premier League away matches for the first time under Arsene Wenger.

Hector Bellerin lost his way. Nacho Monreal was suffering whiplash such was the speed with which Wilfried Zaha ran at him as the Palace winger constantly caused chaos in the visitors' supine defence.

The visiting fans turned on their players - "You're not fit to wear the shirt," they sang - and their beleaguered manager.

"Arsene Wenger, we want you to go," came the cry from the Arsenal faithful. Crystal Palace fans joined in with: "Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay".

But Wenger is adamant his underachieving stars remain on his side.

"I don't think my players didn't want it, but we lost duels in decisive moments and that's how games are decided at this level," he said.

Palace's first home win over Arsenal since 1979 left their London rivals in sixth place, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

Wenger conceded Arsenal's chances of making the Champions League via a top-four finish look bleak, but he refused to be drawn on his future.

"It will be very difficult certainly," said the Frenchman, whose side must still play Tottenham, Manchester United and Everton.

"I don't want to speak about me tonight. I'm not in the mood. At the moment I pay more respect to the fact we had a disappointing result."

Suffering such an embarrassing result at the hands of his old rival Sam Allardyce only added to his woes and the Palace manager did not waste the chance to take a few jabs at Wenger.

"We all know Arsenal are going through their worst spell for years," Allardyce said. "Tactically the players were aware of how to beat Arsenal. The first thing was to defend and frustrate them.

"Arsenal have been weak defensively, they leave the centre-backs exposed. Everything worked perfectly for us."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'Abject Arsenal accused of losing will to fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe