Arsenal's top-four hopes suffer major blow with 3-0 Palace loss

Arsenal suffered a demoraliisng 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Monday night and it further dented their hopes of finishing in the top four this season.

The Arsenal players faced taunts of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" after the game, from the club supporters but Wenger refused to admit that they gave up.

His out of sorts side were put to the sword by a Palace outfit fighting for their lives, with former Tottenham winger Andros Townsend opening the scoring before Yohan Cabaye added the second and Luka Milivojevic wrapped things up from the penalty spot.

Arsenal now lie seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, making their return to Champions League football next season increasingly unlikely.

Arsenal's eighth league defeat of the season was another major blow to their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League, while their chances of winning a first Premier League title since 2004 realistically ended some time go. "I think we won many second balls as well, but in the decisive duel I think they were stronger, especially Benteke tonight".

Theo Walcott acknowledged Arsenal's players had not got anywhere near the performance levels expected of them in Monday's 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. This from a club who ran out at Selhurst Palace knowing that three points would keep them very much in contention for a top four finish. "They are extremely disappointed and I can understand that, like we all are, but Crystal Palace were sharper than us", the Guardian quoted him as saying.

"To see us lose in that way is disappointing. When you are a big club you want to win every game, so that is normal". "And of course it is a big worry".

"I think it will be very hard certainly", he said.

Arsenal have a week off until their next league game, away to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough, before tackling Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley. The visitors enjoyed 72 per cent possession yet managed not one shot on target after the interval.

"I don't know what to say, we are buzzing", he told Sky Sports after the game.

The 28-year-old maintained that whenever they go on the field, they try their best to win. Look, I face questions about my future all the time but tonight I'm not in the mood to speak about it.

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