Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2

  • By: Bill Pierce, PA Sport
  • Last Updated: May 22 2012, 10:00 BST

Steve Coppell saw his Crystal Palace side knocked out of the FA Cup by two

early Arsenal strikes - just hours after being told there's no future as manager

for him at Selhurst Park.

Nicolas Anelka, with an amazing lob after only 68 seconds and Dennis Bergkamp,

with a deflected 28th minute free kick after Palace's Dean Gordon had been sent

off for knocking over the 18-year-old Frenchman on a clear path to goal, won it

for the Gunners despite Bruce Dyer's belligerent reply six minutes later.

And although Palace battled manfully to overturn their dismal home form which

has yet to produce a win in the League, Coppell was in the end thankful for some

slapdash Arsenal finishing to escape a rout.

Palace's new owner Mark Goldberg has asked Coppell to switch to a Director of

Football role after he appoints a new manager, with ex-England coach Terry

Venables the computer millionaire's preferred choice.

But this fifth round replay showed that whoever takes on the job will have a

huge job keeping Palace in the Premier League.

Arsenal, despite their long injury list, could and should have won by a street

- with substitute Marc Overmars, specially flown back from America on Concorde,

replacing the injured Bergkamp 20 minutes from time, spurning a hat-trick of

opportunities to bury Palace for good and all.

But Highbury boss Arsene Wenger will be happy to have got the better of

Arsenal's stubborn South London rivals for the second time in five days - after

the two previous meetings this season were goalless.

Arsenal were still without seven first-team regulars in the starting line-up

but it was formidable enough with skipper Adams back from suspension and

Bergkamp recovered from flu. They have not lost to Palace at Selhurst Park in 18

years.

And after Anelka's early strike, when he cheekily lobbed keeper Miller after

the Dutchman put him through, the only real surprise was that it took them so

long to add a second.

But then referee Martin Bodenham, often criticised for leniency, had no option

but to punish Gordon's body check on Anelka with a red card as the big French

teenager was clear on goal in the 28th minute from Luis Boa Morte's neat flick.

Bergkamp's free kick cannoned in off the end of Palace's defensive wall,

leaving Miller helpless and by then Arsenal had created enough chances to make

the rest of the match academic.

But after Lee Dixon's 30 yarder crashed off the top of the crossbar, Boa Morte

and Anelka both failed to beat the keeper in one-on-ones and such was the

dominance Arsenal achieved, it came as a major shock when Palace forced their

way back into it.

Martin Keown's mistake allowed Dyer a low strike and although keeper Alex

Manninger impressively pushed it away at full stretch, the young Austrian could

not get through a crowd of bodies to deal with the subsequent corner and after

Herman Hreidarsson's header was blocked, Dyer stabbed in his eighth of the

season.

Even then Bergkamp could have increased Arsenal's two-goal cushion almost

immediately but dragged his shot on the run just wide of the far post after

being set up by the marauding Patrick Vieira.

And there was just a hint of panic in Arsenal's defence when Palace tried to

make the most of that latest escape.

Bergkamp, petulantly standing in the way of Simon Rodger free kick, was among

four players booked in a matter of minutes just before the break while Martin

Keown and Dyer being shown the yellow card after a push-and-shove and David

Platt collected his fifth caution of the season for a foul and now faces a

two-match ban.

But Dyer wasted Palace's best chance of forcing extra time when, with 17

minutes left he clipped his shot tamely into the grateful Manninger's arms after

slipping Arsenal's offside trap.

Teams

Crystal Palace: Miller, Edworthy, Gordon, Roberts (Emblen 82),

Dyer, Brolin (Linighan 82), Rodger, Smith (McKenzie 67), Ismael,

Hreidarsson, Fullarton.

Subs Not Used: Nash, Ginty.

Sent Off: Gordon (26).

Booked: Dyer, Ismael.

Goals: Dyer 35.

Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Vieira, Adams, Platt, Anelka,

Bergkamp (Overmars 67), Keown, Upson (Crowe 82), Boa Morte,

Hughes.

Subs Not Used: Lukic, Rankin, Vernazza.

Booked: Platt, Keown, Bergkamp, Upson.

Goals: Anelka 2, Bergkamp 28.

Att: 15,674

Ref: M J Bodenham (East Looe).