Crystal Palace told they have ‘helped Arsenal’ by making ‘strange decision’ to sack Vieira

Date published: Friday 17th March 2023 9:58 - Jason Soutar

Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira before a match

Crystal Palace have done Arsenal a favour by sacking Patrick Vieira two days before Sunday’s London derby, according to Gabby Agbonlahor.

Vieira was relieved of his duties on Friday morning after three consecutive 1-0 defeats in the Premier League.

The Eagles are now without a top-flight win since the 2-0 victory at Bournemouth on December 31.

There was no talk of relegation at that point, but no win all year has dragged Palace into an unexpected battle to avoid the drop.

Goals have been a real problem this season. Palace have only scored more than two in a match once all term.

Talisman Wilfried Zaha’s last goal came before the World Cup but remains the club’s top scorer across all competitions.

It is a difficult time for everyone at Selhurst Park, with Vieira losing his job two days before Palace’s trip to Premier League leaders Arsenal.

This is not the first time this season the Gunners have faced the task of playing a team with a so-called new manager bounce having lost at Everton in Sean Dyche’s first match in charge last month.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting on Thursday after a grueling 120 minutes of action at the Emirates, so could be vulnerable heading into Sunday’s London derby.

Despite this, Palace are obviously unexpected to get anything from the Premier League clash.

They are currently 12th, which doesn’t sound too bad, but are three points above the relegation zone and only one team (Leeds) have won fewer games than them in the top flight in 2022-23.

Vieira has dragged the Eagles into a relegation battle after proving he doesn’t have a Plan B, yet former Aston Villa striker Agbonlahor thinks it was a “strange decision” to sack the Frenchman.

Agbonlahor does not think Vieira lost the dressing room and can see his dismissal greatly benefitting Arsenal this weekend.

“It’s a strange decision. Yes they’re 12th, three points above the relegation zone,” he told talkSPORT.

“But when I watch Palace, they look like a team who are playing for the manager.

“They’ve drawn too many games. The strikers haven’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“Sometimes these decisions can backfire.

“You look at the game against Arsenal on Sunday, this will help Arsenal.

“The players will be upset that Vieira has got the sack. The attacking players let him down.”

Meanwhile, talkSPORT believe Palace will not appoint a new manager until after Sunday’s match at Arsenal.

There is no word on who will be in the dugout at the Emirates with Vieira’s assistants Osian Roberts, Kristian Wilson and Said Aigoun also leaving the club.

The only thing we do know is that Dean Kiely will remain as goalkeeping coach. Crisis averted.

READ MORE: Vieira becomes first Premier League manager to ever lose their job after facing Brighton

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