Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson admitted that the chance to leave the Emirates without succumbing to a defeat was squandered the moment Arsenal netted their second in the 4-1 rout on Saturday.
The Eagles capitulated at the start of the game and found themselves 4-0 down after just 22 minutes as Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette all netted for the home side.
Despite securing a consolation goal late on through Luka Milivojevic after a much improved second half, Crystal Palace were left to rue their opening to the game which had Hodgson pointing towards a lack of defensive accountability at set-pieces.
Reflecting on the performance after the game, Hodgson told the club's website: "We encountered an Arsenal team in that 20 minute period buoyed by the early goals and showed the full range of their passing skills, their movement in the middle of the field and the speed and accuracy of their passing. It very much put us on the back foot.
“The game was over very early on for us today. At 2-0 down after eight minutes at the Emirates against Arsenal, that’s not a good position to be in.
“It was hard to take because we conceded two goals from corner kicks which is something that we haven’t been doing recently; we’ve been quite strong at avoiding those goals.
“We were maybe guilty of was not flagging up the threat from set-plays. We normally go through them and what they do and our markers, but this time we failed to pull that off. I don’t think that the players would tell you that we conceded two goals because we didn’t know what we should be doing – we did because one man lost his marker twice and they scored."
After entering the break four goals behind the Eagles could have easily fallen to a similar fate in the second period, but Hodgson praised the spirit of his side after they managed to shut out the Gunners to limit the damage on the scoreboard.
He said: "At half-time I thought we were staring down the barrel of a gun, as a team of Arsenal’s quality with the players they have and being four goals up meant they couldn’t possibly lose, and it was just a question of how many they wanted to score.
“Had we not marshalled ourselves and shown the character and work-rate that the players showed in the second half, it would have been an avalanche. As it turned out, not only did we stop them scoring but we managed one of our own and reduced the deficit to minus-three rather than minus-seven or eight,” he added.