Arsenal scored twice in injury time to stun Crystal Palace and mean Roy Hodgson‘s last home game in charge of the Eagles ended in disappointment.
Veteran manager Hodgson, 73, announced on Tuesday he will be leaving the club at the end of the season after four years in the job and was given a heart-felt reception from the returning home supporters.
But his farewell match at Selhurst Park ended in a last-gasp defeat as Gabriel Martinelli latched onto fellow substitute Martin Odegaard’s cross to convert from close range on 91 minutes before Nicolas Pepe coolly rolled in Arsenal’s third four minutes later.
Christian Benteke’s diving header from Andros Townsend’s free-kick levelled for the home side after Pepe had volleyed in to finish off a neat Arsenal move.
Palace can move up a place to 12th on the final day if they better Wolves’ result against Manchester United, while Arsenal kept alive their hopes of a top-six finish.
Much-travelled boss Hodgson is the oldest man to have managed in the Premier League and said on the eve of the game it was the “right time to step away” from the rigours of the top flight.
Since taking over in September 2017, he has further stabilised Palace as a top-flight side, steering them clear of the relegation zone with 11th, 12th and 14th-placed finishes.
The former England manager was applauded onto the pitch by the 6,500 Palace fans who made their return to the stadium, while Hodgson received a guard of honour from both sets of players and staff.
His farewell looked to be heading for a satisfactory conclusion when Benteke stooped to head home for his 10th goal of the campaign but the visitors late rally spoiled the mood.
Addressing the crowd at full-time and with the players watching on from the sidelines, Hodgson said: “It has been a magnificent four years of my career and I enjoyed every moment. We would have liked to have finished the season here with a good result against a top team.”
He perhaps also hinted at retirement from management by adding: “I shall miss everybody, I shall miss football but it has been a fantastic journey and I thank you very much.”
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