Post-desert delight for Arsenal, but sands of time start running out for Roy at Palace
Arsenal (2) 5 Gabriel 11, Henderson og 37, Trossard 59, Martinelli 90+4, 90+6
Crystal Palace (0) 0
Arsenal reignited their title ambitions with a much-needed victory to justify that mini winter-break in Dubai - though the win probably owed more to another deflating performance from the Eagles than any audience with Salta Bae or the warm-weather training during that Middle East sojourn.
The Gunners were under pressure to deliver, following those back-to-back league defeats against West Ham and Fulham and the FA Cup loss to Liverpool which had taken some of the wind out of sails that had previously been billowing with heady excitement.
But for Palace, it means they now have only one win in 12 - the home success against Brentford just after Christmas - and it is beginning to look as if they may need help from points deductions dished out to rivals to avoid getting into a really sticky mess.
The Eagles almost certainly will have been subjected to half-time rants from Roy Hodgson and his trusty sidekick Ray Lewington after a dreadful first-half and they at least showed some fight after the turnaround. But the patience of the south London team's fans is starting to wear thin.
Many were furious that Eberechi Eze was withdrawn from the fray at Everton in the midweek FA Cup loss and demonstrated their frustrations at the direction of travel.
At the end, the away section had a big banner held aloft decrying 'wasted potential and weak decisions on and off the pitch taking us backwards.'
Hodgson has exuded a weary demeanour and spoken openly about feeling disillusioned. Many Palace fans will be sharing that feeling.
After three defeats in a row, the only acceptable response today was always going to be a home win for Mikel Arteta's men - preferably with the minimum of fuss. And that was what we got.
The first half half felt mundane in the extreme, with the Eagles looking forlorn - the dog days of the Hodgson era continuing to sap the spirits of those loyal Eagles fans hoping for more than they are getting.
All it took was two goals from corners to translate home dominance of the ball into tangible advantage.
The first arrived when Gabriel outmuscled Chris Richards to head home an inswinging corner from Declan Rice at the back post. The second was from a ball swung to Gabriel from the opposite side by Bukayo Saka later in the half. This time, the Brazilian's header found the net off the back of a prone Dean Henderson in the Eagles' goal.
Apart from a few carries into opposition territory by Eze and one hit from Jefferson Lerma - turned aside by David Raya, who had presented the opening with a loose clearance - Palace looked bereft of confidence and ambition.
Lerma almost headed an own goal - the ball bouncing back off an upright - and Trossard fired over from close range near the end of the half after a nice move, but Arsenal did not carve out lots of openings. They didn't really need to.
On the hour, it was game over, as Raya collected a Will Hughes chip and quickly released Gabriel Jesus for a breakaway goal. The striker's scamper down the right flank was followed by a perfect roll across to Trossard, which gave the Belgium all the time he needed to side-step Nathaniel Clyne, steady himself and dispatch.
In injury time, Gaby Martinelli rubber-stamped a comfortable Saturday lunchtime's work by tucking home Eddie Nketiah's pass before racing to score again moments later - Jorginho the provider this time. It capped an awful day for the Eagles.
With no FA Cup tie for either side next weekend, there is extra rime to ponder the state of play. Arsenal return to action at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday week. Palace entertain Sheffield United the same night in a game they dare not lose.
Gunners: (4-3-3) Raya - White, Saliba, Gabriel (Kiwior 82), Zinchenko - Odegaard, Rice (Jorginho 73), Havertz (Smith Rowe 69) - Saka, Jesus (Nketiah 82), Trossard (Martinelli 69)
Eagles: (4-3-3) Henderson - Clyne (Ahamada 76), Andersen, Guehi (Tomkins 87), Mitchell - Lerma, Richards, Hughes (Ozoh 68) - Eze, Mateta, Schlupp (Frank 76)