Bukayo Saka scored twice as we swept away Crystal Palace to move eight points clear at the top of the table.
Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring for us as we looked to put Thursday night’s disappointing European exit behind us.
Saka doubled the lead before half-time and Granit Xhaka increased the advantage, finishing another slick team move ten minutes after the restart.
Palace threatened to get back into the game when Jeffrey Schlupp scored from a corner but Saka’s smartly taken second ensured a comfortable winning margin from an excellent performance.
We dominated possession and territory early on, with Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard looking lively, but it was Palace who had the first chance. Wilfried Zaha streaked away from the halfway line, cut inside onto his right foot, and his low shot hit the post then rebounded off Aaron Ramsdale’s legs behind for a corner.
At the other end Odegaard forced a diving stop from the visitors’ teenage goalkeeper Joe Whitworth from just inside the area, but there were few real chances for either side until we opened the scoring.
Ben White started the move, darting in to win the ball on the right flank before passing to Bukayo Saka on the edge of the box. His cross found its way to Martinelli who took a touch, kept his composure then rifled low into the net left-footed.
It was the Brazilian’s sixth goal in his last six Premier League outings.
Saka doubles up
We went in search of the second. Odegaard dragged a shot wide from just inside the area after good build-up play from White and Saka on the right.
When the second did arrive, it was that White/Saka partnership that created it. After a Martinelli cross from the left went straight across goal, White took up possession on the opposite flank, fed a pass inside the full-back to Saka, who finished expertly low into the corner.
It was no more than we deserved from a confident first-half display.
Rob Holding, making his first start in the Premier League since the final day of last season, slotted seamlessly back into the back line. He completed more passes than any other player on the pitch in the first half, and also won most duels (eight).
The half-time break did nothing to halt our momentum.
It was another well-worked goal that brought up our third. Alex Zinchenko fed the ball into Granit Xhaka outside the area. The Swiss midfielder swapped passes with Leandro Trossard, continued his run into the box and finished well under pressure.
It was the midfielder’s second goal in a week, and Trossard’s sixth Premier League assist since joining from Brighton in January.
But Palace hit back. We failed to deal with a corner at the near post and Jeffrey Schlupp pounced from close range to pull one back.
It gave the visitors confidence and Zaha slid a shot just wide after Schlupp won the ball in midfield.
But any thoughts of a comeback were squashed when Saka notched his second of the afternoon.
Substitute Kieran Tierney pulled the ball back to the winger from the left, and Saka drilled home a first-time shot to restore our three-goal lead.
Indeed this is the first time since 2004 that we have won four Premier League games in row by scoring at least three goals in each of them.
Mikel Arteta was able to bring players off in the closing minutes, after a physically demanding week. But at the end of it, we stand proudly on top of the league table heading into the international break, with 10 league games remaining.
What it means
Facts and stats
We earned our 22nd Premier League win of the season, as many as we managed in the whole of last term, and our most-ever wins in our first 28 matches of a league campaign.
Crystal Palace remain one of only two sides yet to win a league match in England’s top four tiers in 2023 (P12 W0 D5 L7), along with League One’s Forest Green Rovers.
The Eagles have lost four consecutive Premier League games for the first time since July 2020 (run of 7).
We are the first side in English Football League history to win as many as nine London derbies in a single league season.
Paddy McCarthy was the eighth manager from the Republic of Ireland to take charge in the Premier League, with seven of those now losing their first such game in the competition, the exception being Roy Keane with Sunderland in August 2007 (1-0 win v Spurs).
Bukayo Saka (12 goals, 10 assists) became the first player to reach both 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League this season. He is the first Arsenal player to reach double figures for both in a Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez in 2016/17 (24 goals, 10 assists), and only the second Englishman to do so for us, after Theo Walcott in 2012/13 (14 goals, 10 assists).
Bukayo also provided his 25th Premier League assist, aged 21 years and 195 days; only Cesc Fabregas (20y 134d), Wayne Rooney (21y 63d) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (21y 140d) reached 25 assists at a younger age in the competition.
Leandro Trossard has assisted six goals in 10 Premier League games for us, at least twice as many as any other player in the competition since his club debut in January. It’s also more assists than the Belgian provided in 50 Premier League appearances for Brighton since the start of last season (5).
Our international players now join up with their respective countries, and we’ll be back in action in two weeks’ time, at home to Leeds United on Saturday, April 1.
After that fixture, we will have nine Premier League games remaining – five away and four at home.
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