An off night or derailment?

Another match which screams out: Arsenal should have busted a gut to get a goal-scorer in the last window – even on loan.

Three good chances fell to Odegaard and Smith Rowe – but they aren’t clinical finishers

Was this the worst Arsenal performance of the season? Probably, taking away the first three games.

True the International break disrupted rhythms. Tierney being out meant that there were two reserve backs against a team strong on both flanks. Both didn’t last the full 90. And had Gabriel fully settled from the recent birth of his daughter?

It was a test for a young side in the tightly packed south London atmosphere blaring out the Dave Clark Five hit and like the hostile environment of the away game at Goodison Park earlier in the season.

Bukayo Saka: Arsenal’s best player on the night

Patrick Viera’s tactics were to come at Arsenal from the off, not allowing them to settle into any kind of rhythm. They pressed with intensity from the front and midfield, with Gallagher on top of Partey for most of the game.

Crystal Palace did for Arsenal’s Champions League hopes in Emery’s first season with the late winner at The Emirates. Was this the match that did the same – with a seven-goal swing in favour of Spurs? And critically losing Partey as well as Tierney.

Crystal Palace had players back from the England internationals which boosted confidence, including Mitchell, Guéhi and the Chelsea-Russia connected loanee Gallagher, helping to shore up his parent club’s position.

Ramsdale was back earlier than expected and Smith Rowe was preferred to Martinelli.

Arsenal were unlucky for the first and third goals.

The tone was set in the second minute when Ramsdale and White were hassled into mistakes by tight Palace pressing.

When Arsenal tried to mount attacks, Palace midfield dropped close to the defenders cutting off lines of attack.

On 17, Gallagher sent in a free kick, Gabriel misjudged it, Anderson was all over Tavares and the ball accidentally hit the back of the centre back’s head and travelled invitingly across the goal for the open mouthed Mateta to head home. Ominously, Palace had yet to be beaten when scoring first this season.

In keeping with the half, Gabriel made a couple of mistakes; Odegaard over-ran it.

Even Ayew scored when Gabriel missed a forward pass from Andersen leaving Tavares way out of position, not tracking his runner and the Ghanaian slotted home.

Tavares lasted longer than his previous outing at Nottingham Forest, going off for Martinelli with Xhaka in at left back. But you worry what these substitutions are doing for his confidence and future Arsenal career. He is better at wing back, and Soares would appear a better bet than Xhaka dropping back, when Tomiyasu comes back mid-month after the Southampton match.

Saka, Arsenal’s best player on the night, although even he was muted by his own standards, drove into the Palace area and was bundled to the ground by Kouyaté. Paul Tierney ruled no penalty.

Ten minutes later, the England international beat Mitchell, cut in but fired over.

Martinelli performed a quick one two with Lacazette and it fell to Smith Rowe who rushed it and sent it straight to Guaita

A pinpoint cross came in from the left and Odegaard in a good position in the Palace area missed the target.  What was that about a natural goalscorer?

Partey, who was waving to come off with what appeared to be a hip injury, couldn’t stop Zaha on the run and Odegaard running back hit the forward’s shin in the area. The Ivorian scored the penalty.

Smith Rowe had a chance from a Saka shot but Guéhi saved on the line.

Nketiah, on for Soares, hit the post with a curler from a difficult position and Xhaka took a shot – sailing over the bar and jeered by the Palace fans, which summed things up for Arsenal on the night.

Patrick Vieira said: “I am really proud. We defended well and took our chances and scored at important moments. We wanted to be on the front foot from the start and put on pressure from first minute. We didn’t want them to develop their game and defended from the front.

“The atmosphere is huge. When we play at home, we feel support. We went through a difficult time in the second half – but the fans were behind the players.

Mikel Arteta said: “We made in impossible the way we played and competed.  We needed to be physical first and win the second ball and earn the right to play. We were Inconsistent on the ball and gave it away. It was nowhere near our level. I apologise to our supporters.

“I am most annoyed with the way we didn’t have presence composure and commitment

“We were late all the time. We couldn’t get out of the bubble in first 40 minutes. When we have chances, we didn’t score. We have to put our hands up – and get the criticism. We have to accept it and look in the mirror.

“Now we have to see unity. You are on the boat. Jump on and give us a hand. We have to support each other and make each other better.”

Premier League: Crystal Palace 3 Arsenal 0

Crystal Palace:13Guaita, 17Clyne, 16Andersen, 6Guéhi, 3Mitchell, 8Kouyaté (Substituted for Milivojevic at 80’minutes), 15Schlupp, 9J Ayew (Substituted for Édouard at 76’minutes), 23Gallagher, 11Zaha, 14Mateta (Substituted for McArthur at 69’minutes)

Arsenal: 32Ramsdale, 17Cédric Soares (Substituted for Nketiah at 66’minutes), 4White, 6Gabriel, 20Tavares (Substituted for Martinelli at 45’minutes) 5ParteyBooked at 53minsSubstituted for Sambi Lokonga at 75’minutes, 34Xhaka (Booked at 77mins), 7Saka, 8Ødegaard, 10Smith Rowe, 9Lacazette