Arsenal boss Arteta explains Saka ‘disappointment’ after Palace win

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed two-goal hero Bukayo Saka left the field “disappointed” despite starring in his side’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Gunners moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable home victory as they swept aside the confidence-starved Eagles, who were brutally ripped apart after missing some early chances of their own.

Saka struck twice for Arteta’s table-toppers and also laid on an assist for Gabriel Martinelli as Arsenal broke the deadlock in an impressive response to Thursday’s penalty-shootout defeat to Sporting CP.

And speaking after the match, Arteta disclosed that star man Saka was left frustrated by his failure to complete his hat-trick, shining light on the player’s elite mentality.

“He was disappointed not to get a hat-trick. That is what we need,” Arteta told BBC Sport.

“We need our front players firing and making the difference and today they did that again.”

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Arteta was also pleased with the way Martinelli responded to his costly penalty miss in the Europa League on Thursday as the Brazilian returned to goalscoring form.

“The reaction he had after missing a penalty [on Thursday]. There is always the question, but I asked him yesterday hoe he was and he said: ‘I want to be in the team’.”

With Manchester City in FA Cup action against Burnley this weekend, Arsenal capitalised on their chance to extend their lead at the top of the table.

“The desire and the energy that we put in right from the beginning impressed me most. We were really determined and focused and left Thursday in the past,” Arteta continued.

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“After playing 120 minutes, they have to come back here and do it again against a team with a lot of needs. Palace have not got the results lately but they have be very tough to beat.

“But we were dominant and deserved to win the game. Today, in the box when we had those openings, we defined the game in the right way.”

Palace were viewed as a potential banana skin following the midweek sacking of Patrick Vieira.

However, Arsenal managed the occasion expertly as they crushed Palace in Paddy McCarthy’s first match as interim boss.

Granit Xhaka was also on the scoresheet for the second successive match following his first-half strike against Sporting on Thursday.

Arsenal had to do it the hard way after losing William Saliba to a back injury, meaning there was a rare start for Rob Holding at the back.

The Gunners now prepare to face Leeds in the Premier League next Saturday when they will seek to extend their six-match winning run in the top-flight.

The Whites will be full of confidence though after they ran out 4-2 winners at Wolves on Saturday to bolster their chances of survival.

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