Arsenal bounced back from their European heartbreak in midweek with a resounding victory over Crystal Palace as they moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League standings.
Mikel Arteta‘s side were in clinical form in front of goal, thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka, as well as a brace from Bukayo Saka.
The England international looked as fresh as ever after earning an hour’s rest in the Europa League last-16 defeat to Sporting CP – rightly, he was the ‘Player of the Match’ for many as he entered double figures for both goals and assists, becoming the first player to do so this campaign.
However, he wasn’t the only man to send the Eagles back to southeast London with the tail between their legs as his partner in crime, Ben White, was absolutely outstanding at right-back, even if he and Granit Xhaka were made to look rather foolish for celebrating giving away a corner they then conceded from.
How did Ben White play against Palace?
Arteta had a massive call to make in defence as he suffered a double injury blow just days earlier, losing William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu. He went with Rob Holding in the middle, with White keeping his place on the right. And what a call that turned out to be.
As outlined by journalist James Benge, the 25-year-old was “ripping Palace to ribbons,” which is no easy feat considering he was up against the tricky test of Wilfried Zaha, who on his day can be a major threat to any backline in the top-flight.
White dealt with the Ivory Coast forward with aplomb, though, as he registered three interceptions and one tackle, whilst the Englishman also won three duels and a free-kick, via Sofascore.
Elsewhere, the former Brighton and Hove Albion dynamo – who cost around £50m – managed to provide one accurate cross and create one key chance with his 66 touches, including a dynamite assist for Saka’s first goal on the stroke of half-time.
Kaya Kaynak of football.london was equally impressed by the £120k-per-week star, handing him an 8/10 for his efforts. He wrote: ‘Superb offensively on the day with precise delivery and excellent decision-making in the final third. His assist for Saka was delightful.’
Plenty have now begun to question White’s recent omission from Gareth Southgate’s England squad, with the likes of Dr. Rajpal Brar, journalist Ahmed Yussuf and football.london’s Hush Kerai pondering if he’s the best right-back in the league right now.
The “Rolls-Royce” of a defender, in the eyes of former Newport County boss Michael Flynn, certainly helped Arteta and the Gunners seal a remarkable and convincing victory in north London on Sunday.