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Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal: Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe score late on

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Roy Hodgson
Hodgson (centre) is the oldest manager to take charge in the top flight

Roy Hodgson says managing Crystal Palace has been a "fairytale" despite his final home game in charge ending in disappointment after Arsenal scored twice in injury time.

Veteran manager Hodgson, 73, announced on Tuesday he will be leaving the club at the end of the season after four years in the job and was given a warm reception from the returning home supporters.

But his farewell match at Selhurst Park ended in a last-gasp defeat as Gabriel Martinelli latched onto fellow substitute Martin Odegaard's cross to convert from close range in added time before Nicolas Pepe coolly rolled in Arsenal's third four minutes later.

Christian Benteke's diving header from Andros Townsend's free-kick had levelled for the home side after Pepe had volleyed in to finish off a neat Arsenal move.

"It has been exceptionally good," Hodgson told BBC Sport. "I never really envisaged it. From being on the terraces at the age of five to finish managing the team at the age of 73 - it is something of a fairytale or like Roy of the Rovers. It's been a privilege.

"I am delighted with the reception they gave me. It seems they appreciated me as much as I appreciated them and that's a nice feeling."

Asked about his favourite moment at the club, Hodgson said: "In a year or so I might say tonight was the standout moment. A guard of honour, people cheering you throughout and the reception at the end. Not all managers have experienced that in their life.

"It was a nice feeling. I am sure that will mean more to me than the odd game or good performance I remember."

Palace can move up a place to 12th on the final day if they better Wolves' result against Manchester United, while Arsenal's hopes of a top-six finish were ended by West Ham's victory over West Brom.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal: Roy Hodgson says it's been a privilege to manage Eagles

'It has been a magnificent four years'

Much-travelled boss Hodgson is the oldest man to have managed in the Premier League and said on the eve of the game it was the "right time to step away" from the rigours of the top flight.

Since taking over in September 2017, he has further stabilised Palace as a top-flight side, steering them clear of the relegation zone with 11th, 12th and 14th-placed finishes.

The former England manager was applauded onto the pitch by the 6,500 Palace fans who made their return to the stadium, while Hodgson received a guard of honour from both sets of players and staff.

His farewell looked to be heading for a satisfactory conclusion when Benteke stooped to head home for his 10th goal of the campaign but the visitors' late rally spoiled the mood.

Roy Hodgson
Hodgson was given a guard of honour before kick-off

Addressing the crowd at full time and with the players watching on from the sidelines, Hodgson said: "It has been a magnificent four years of my career and I enjoyed every moment. We would have liked to have finished the season here with a good result against a top team."

He perhaps also hinted at retirement from management by adding: "I shall miss everybody, I shall miss football but it has been a fantastic journey and I thank you very much."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: "I thought it was great to have fans on his day because he deserves what happened before and right now [fans' noise while the interview was happening].

"An incredible achievement. He's someone to try to emulate because what he's done in football is remarkable."

Arsenal will keep fighting for Europe - Arteta

Lifeline for Arsenal

Up until the 90th minute, Arteta's side had been largely poor and it looked as if a fairly miserable season was petering out without much incident.

The Gunners have lost a club record-equalling 13 games in a 38-game season but Martinelli and Pepe's goals gave their side a lifeline in the quest for European football next season.

But they will need results to go their way if they are to finish seventh and claim a place in next season's inaugural Europa League Conference competition.

Despite failing to offer significant attacking threat for much of the contest, they ended up scoring with all three of their shots on target.

On-loan Odegaard started the game on the bench and his future in doubt but the Real Madrid man proved his effectiveness with a delightful cross which Martinelli converted.

Arsenal's excellent late-season form has seen them collect their fourth straight league win for the first time since 2018 and they will go into Sunday's match against Brighton optimistic they can salvage something from a modest campaign.

Arteta added: "We will keep fighting right up to the last day. If someone said in November or December [they could qualify for Europe] it looked impossible but we've been on a strong run these past six months and we deserve a chance to be there on the final day."

Arsenal's young guns - the stats

  • Arsenal picked up their first Premier League victory against Crystal Palace since January 2018, having been winless in five against the Eagles prior to today.
  • Crystal Palace have lost their final home game in a Premier League season for the first time (P12 W8 D3 L1).
  • Arsenal have won four consecutive Premier League games under Mikel Arteta for the first time.
  • Gabriel Martinelli (19y & 335d) became the youngest player to score a 90th-minute winner for Arsenal in a Premier League game.
  • Arsenal have never lost a Premier League game in which a teenager has scored, with tonight (Martinelli scoring) being the 60th such match for the Gunners in the competition, winning 50 and drawing 10.
  • Following his brace this evening, Nicolas Pepe has scored in back-to-back Premier League appearances for the first time in his Arsenal career.
  • Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke has scored in four consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time since April 2013, while only Everton's Dominic Calvert Lewin (7) has scored more headed goals in the competition this season than the Belgian (6).
  • Benteke has scored 10 Premier League goals for Crystal Palace this season, the first time he has reached double figures in the competition since 2016-17 (15).

Player of the match

Gabriel MartinelliGabriel Martinelli

with an average of 7.45

Crystal Palace

  1. Squad number20Player nameBenteke
    Average rating


  2. Squad number10Player nameTownsend
    Average rating


  3. Squad number11Player nameZaha
    Average rating


  4. Squad number9Player nameJ Ayew
    Average rating


  5. Squad number24Player nameCahill
    Average rating


  6. Squad number27Player nameMitchell
    Average rating


  7. Squad number8Player nameKouyaté
    Average rating


  8. Squad number44Player nameRiedewald
    Average rating


  9. Squad number31Player nameGuaita
    Average rating


  10. Squad number5Player nameTomkins
    Average rating


  11. Squad number22Player nameMcCarthy
    Average rating


  12. Squad number15Player nameSchlupp
    Average rating


  13. Squad number2Player nameWard
    Average rating



  1. Squad number35Player nameGabriel Martinelli
    Average rating


  2. Squad number3Player nameTierney
    Average rating


  3. Squad number19Player namePépé
    Average rating


  4. Squad number32Player nameSmith Rowe
    Average rating


  5. Squad number7Player nameSaka
    Average rating


  6. Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães
    Average rating


  7. Squad number21Player nameChambers
    Average rating


  8. Squad number11Player nameØdegaard
    Average rating


  9. Squad number16Player nameHolding
    Average rating


  10. Squad number1Player nameLeno
    Average rating


  11. Squad number18Player namePartey
    Average rating


  12. Squad number25Player nameMohamed Elneny
    Average rating


  13. Squad number14Player nameAubameyang
    Average rating


  14. Squad number34Player nameXhaka
    Average rating



Crystal Palace

Formation 4-3-3

  • 31Guaita
  • 2Ward
  • 5Tomkins
  • 24Cahill
  • 27Mitchell
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 22McCarthySubstituted forRiedewaldat 82'minutes
  • 15SchluppBooked at 5mins
  • 10Townsend
  • 20BentekeBooked at 37minsSubstituted forJ Ayewat 79'minutes
  • 11Zaha


  • 1Butland
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 9J Ayew
  • 14Mateta
  • 17Clyne
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 34Kelly
  • 39Rak-Sakyi
  • 44Riedewald


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Leno
  • 21Chambers
  • 16Holding
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3TierneySubstituted forXhakaat 78'minutes
  • 18ParteySubstituted forMartinelliat 78'minutes
  • 25ElnenyBooked at 37mins
  • 19Pépé
  • 32Smith Rowe
  • 7SakaSubstituted forØdegaardat 65'minutes
  • 14Aubameyang


  • 8Ceballos
  • 9Lacazette
  • 11Ødegaard
  • 12Willian
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 22Marí
  • 33Ryan
  • 34Xhaka
  • 35Martinelli
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, Arsenal 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, Arsenal 3.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Arsenal 3. Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

  4. Post update

    Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace).

  6. Post update

    VAR Decision: Goal Arsenal - Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal (Gabriel Martinelli).

  7. Goal!

    Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Arsenal 2. Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Martin Ødegaard with a cross.Goal confirmed following VAR Review.

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jeffrey Schlupp.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Nicolas Pépé.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Calum Chambers with a cross.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) header from very close range is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by James Tomkins with a headed pass.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Gabriel Magalhães.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jairo Riedewald replaces James McCarthy.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend tries a through ball, but Wilfried Zaha is caught offside.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jordan Ayew replaces Christian Benteke.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Gabriel Martinelli replaces Thomas Partey.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka replaces Kieran Tierney.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James McCarthy.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend tries a through ball, but Wilfried Zaha is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Offside, Arsenal. Rob Holding tries a through ball, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is caught offside.

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