Despite a better second half, Arsenal’s best 25 minutes this season condemned Crystal Palace to a heavy 4-1 defeat at the Emirates.

Roy Hodgson was without several players in this reverse fixture as Andros Townsend made the bench.

Bakary Sakho and Wilfried Zaha featured alongside Christian Benteke up top, with Martin Kelly continuing to deputise full time at the back for Scott Dann.

The away side’s afternoon began in the worst way possible when defender Nacho Monreal got his head on a Granit Xhaka cross six minutes into the game.

Still stunned from the opener, it became two when a sustained Gunners attack led to the Spain international finding space on the edge of the box to assist winger Alex Iwobi for the second.

It was three only a few minutes later when a corner – and another assist for Monreal – allowed for defender Laurent Koscielny to make it 3-0.

Arsenal were completely in control of the game only 15 minutes in and repeatedly asked questions of a shellshocked Palace defence.

The goal glut became four when Alexandre Lacazette found space inside the 18-yard box to beat Wayne Hennessey’s far post.

Chances continued to come for Wenger’s men when Lacazette got the better of one defender in the box but it was eventually cleared away.

Hodgson’s men entered half-time with little hope of coming back in arguably their worst first-half all season.

Although the scoreline was completely out of their favour, they took on the second as if it was goalless.

Full backs Patrick van Aanholt and Timothy Fosu-Mensah found space down Arsenal’s flanks to deliver service into Christian Benteke, with the former narrowly missing is team-mates five minutes into the restart.

Palace continued to find their rhythm and take advantage of the hosts’ complacency given their comfort in the game, and Bakary Sako’s chance inside the box gave them some confidence.

The Arsenal support grew to become frustrated as play slowed down and chances were killed by the low tempo, while quick short passing into Zaha and Benteke allowed for some space nearer to the Gunners goal.

A corner 12 minutes from time allowed Luka Milivojevic to beautifully chest the ball and volley it into the bottom corner of the net, and at least deny the Gunners a clean sheet.

Yohan Cabaye suffered an injury shortly before full-time as he was stretchered off, but the game had been settled well before the final whistle.