The Football Association (FA) has condemned pitch-invading fans after a number of high-profile incidents of violence near the end of the English league season.

Earlier on Friday, Merseyside Police announced they had launched an investigation into an altercation between Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira and a fan, after Everton supporters flooded onto the Goodison Park pitch to celebrate the Toffees securing Premier League safety with a 3-2 comeback victory.

Widely circulated footage appeared to show Vieira kicking out at the fan after being goaded, while this week also saw a Nottingham Forest supporter jailed and given a stadium ban after attacking Sheffield United player Billy Sharp following a Championship play-off semi-final at the City Ground.

Elsewhere, Swindon Town players were allegedly physically and verbally abused during a pitch invasion at Port Vale, while a Northampton Town fan appeared to shove a Mansfield Town player during League Two's other play-off semi-final tie.

English football's governing body has now moved to condemn the scenes and confirmed it is investigating each of the pitch invasions to have taken place over recent days.

"We are very concerned about the rise in anti-social behaviour from fans as we reach the end of the season," a statement from the FA began.

"Football stadiums should always be a safe and enjoyable space for everyone, and these incidents are completely unacceptable and have no place in our game.

"It is illegal to enter the pitch area in any stadium and these actions are putting players, fans and people who run the game at great risk. This simply cannot continue, and we can confirm that we are investigating all of the incidences. 

"Clubs play a vital role in addressing this issue and they need to prevent pitch invasions from occurring, as well as taking their own action against those that break the rules and the law.

"The FA will be seeking to do all that it can to work with clubs as well as addressing the issues from a disciplinary perspective. We are also reviewing our regulations to help stamp this behaviour out and to ensure the safety of everyone inside a stadium."

An altercation involving Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira on the Goodison Park pitch is being investigated by Merseyside police.

The incident took place in the aftermath of Everton's 3-2 comeback win over Palace in the Premier League on Thursday.

Widely circulated social media footage appeared to show Vieira kicking out at a supporter after being goaded, as Everton fans flooded onto the playing surface after Frank Lampard's team secured their top-flight status.

While Vieira refused to comment on the incident at his post-match news conference, the police have now announced an investigation, while reports suggest the Football Association has launched its own probe.

"Merseyside Police is investigating an altercation on the pitch at Goodison Park following the Everton v Crystal Palace match," read a statement released on Friday. 

"We are working with Everton FC to gather all available CCTV footage and are speaking to witnesses. No formal complaint has been received and enquiries into the incident are ongoing."

Meanwhile, a separate statement released by the force confirmed three men had been arrested for entering – or attempting to enter – Goodison Park with pyrotechnics on Thursday, while another was arrested for a breach of the police but later de-arrested.

The unsavoury scenes follow similar incidents being witnessed at several Football League play-off matches recently – a fan was jailed for assaulting Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp after the team's defeat at Nottingham Forest earlier this week, while pitch invasions have also occurred at Huddersfield Town, Northampton Town, and Port Vale in recent days.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with an Everton fan following his team's 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Palace threw away a 2-0 half-time lead in the second half, and the dramatic victory for the Toffees ensured their Premier League status for another season.

The delirious home fans descended onto the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate, but one fan approached Vieira and appeared to taunt him.

The former Arsenal midfielder initially ignored the man, before turning to confront him, seeming to kick out before being ushered away by other Everton supporters.

Vieira refused to speak about the incident in his post-match media conference, though his opposite number Frank Lampard said he "felt" for the Frenchman being put in that situation.

"I feel for Patrick," the Everton boss said at his own media conference. "I didn't get him at the end. I would have said, 'come in with us' – although he might not have wanted that.

"Of course he ran 80 yards across the pitch and it's not easy."

This was not the first unsavoury incident to take place in English football in the last week involving pitch invasions, with a Nottingham Forest fan being arrested and later jailed for assaulting Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp following Forest's penalty shoot-out win in the Championship playoff semi-finals on Tuesday.

There were further concerns raised about fans endangering players during pitch invasions after both League Two playoff games involving Mansfield Town and Northampton Town on Wednesday, and Swindon Town and Port Vale on Thursday.

On the fans coming onto the pitch, Lampard added: "It was pure elation of fans who have come on the pitch after avoiding relegation.

"If it is done in the right way let them stay on the pitch, let them have their moment. As long as they behave, no problem."

Kevin De Bruyne and Son Heung-min have joined Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold in being nominated for the Premier League's Player of the Season award.

De Bruyne, who won the award in 2019-20 despite Manchester City missing out on the title to Liverpool that season, is enjoying his best goalscoring campaign for the club.

He netted four goals in a 5-1 thrashing of Wolves on Wednesday, taking him to 19 in all competitions.

Salah is the only other past winner to be up for the award, having scored 22 goals and provided 13 assists (both league-high tallies) in another outstanding campaign as Liverpool battle City for the title.

Fellow Reds star Alexander-Arnold is also on the shortlist after racking up 12 assists in 31 appearances, as is Tottenham forward Son, who scored his 21st league goal of the campaign in Spurs' 3-0 win over Arsenal on Thursday.

Despite hitting 18 and 15 league goals respectively this season, Manchester United and Spurs strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane are among the highest-profile players to miss out being nominated.

The other players on the eight-man shortlist are City defender Joao Cancelo, Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka, Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, and West Ham's Jarrod Bowen.

Bowen is one of just three Premier League players to record double figures for goals and assists this season (both 10, along with Salah and Chelsea's Mason Mount).

Meanwhile, both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are in contention to be named Manager of the Season at the end of another enthralling title race between their teams.

Guardiola has already won the award on three occasions (in 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2020-21), the same amount as Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. Only Alex Ferguson, with 11, has won it more often.

Klopp won the award when he led Liverpool to their first Premier League title in 2019-20, while the other three nominees all manage sides currently in the bottom half of the table.

Brentford's Thomas Frank is among them after leading the Bees to safety in their first top-flight season since 1946-47, as is Patrick Viera after an impressive first campaign with Crystal Palace.

Newcastle United's Eddie Howe is the final boss on the five-man shortlist, after the Magpies became the first side to go winless through their first 14 games in a Premier League campaign and avoid relegation (three had done so and gone down - Swindon Town in 1993-94, QPR in 2012-13, and Sheffield United in 2020-21).

Public votes will contribute towards deciding the winner of each award, with Premier League club captains also getting a vote on the players' award and a "panel of football experts" helping to choose the winning manager.

Paul Scholes and Didier Drogba lead the latest slate of inductees to the Premier League Hall of Fame, it was announced on Thursday.

Former Manchester United midfielder Scholes and ex-Chelsea striker Drogba head the remaining six names of the Class of 2022.

Patrick Vieira and Wayne Rooney had already been announced as two of the eight players to be bestowed with the honour, following last year's inaugural group of players.

They are joined now by Scholes and Drogba, alongside Arsenal legend Ian Wright, ex-Red Devils goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany.

Widely acclaimed as the greatest midfielder of his generation, Scholes – a one-club man between 1993 and 2013 – won the Premier League 11 times during his playing days.

Drogba, who spent two different spells with the Blues, proved a cornerstone of Chelsea's elevation to regular contenders in the competition.

Wright helped Arsenal to the title in 1997-98 before a brief spell with West Ham and remains the Gunners' second-highest scorer ever, behind only previous inductee Thierry Henry.

Schmeichel, who remains the only goalkeeper to win the Premier League Player of the Year Award, in 1995-96, is the first shotstopper to be inducted.

Kompany, a four-time Premier League winner during an acclaimed spell at City, helped usher in the team's modern era of dominance.

Aguero, meanwhile, is the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history, having scored 184 goals in just 275 appearances.

The six players were inducted via a public ballot, after Vieira and Rooney had been selected as automatic picks.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira bemoaned Chelsea's decision to not allow loanee Conor Gallagher to feature in the FA Cup semi-final, claiming the midfielder will be "the only one who will lose".

Gallagher moved on a season-long loan from Chelsea to Selhurst Park at the start of the season and the midfielder has starred for the Eagles, who made the last four of the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Everton.

The 22-year-old's performances also earned him his England debut in November and have led to suggestions he could fill a midfield void for Thomas Tuchel's side next campaign with N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho not getting any younger.

But Chelsea have refused Palace's request for special dispensation to allow Gallagher to play against his parent club in the FA Cup on April 17, with FA rules preventing loanees from featuring against the side they are contracted to.

Vieira was left bemused by the decision as he insisted Gallagher would be the only player punished by the refusal.

"It's not the best rule because the only one who will lose is Conor," the Frenchman said.

"There's a semi-final, it's a really exciting game about how you will manage yourself and prepare yourself to play that game, then there's playing that kind of game and the importance of it.

"It's an experience the player is missing and I'm disappointed for him. He has played all the games so far and if there's somebody who deserves to be in the semi-final, it's him because of his performances, so I'm disappointed he won't be able to play.

"The decision for Chelsea to send him on loan is to play these kinds of games. We have as a group an opportunity to play an important game and that game would have given him more confidence and belief. We could lose but for him to have been on the field is what he needs to keep developing himself.

"Since he has been with us, he has been fantastic and for him not to have a chance to get involved in that game, it is something frustrating for his development.

"I feel for him because he wanted to play in that game –every player would want to play in that game."

Vieira also believes the impact of the FA Cup last-four draw has been clear to see on Gallagher in training.

"The next day in training he was affected by that," he continued. "He knew straight away that it was a game that he would not have the chance to get involved in. We feel for him.

"He put his head back into training straight away. It will be more difficult when we enter the week of the game.

"It will be challenging for him, looking at the team, preparing himself and him not getting involved. That will be challenging for him."

Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira are the latest inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Former Man Utd striker Rooney and ex-Arsenal captain Vieira are the first names included as automatic picks in the class of 2022.

Six more players are set to join them by a public vote over the next fortnight, with the winners from a 25-player field of nominations to be announced in April.

Rooney – United's all-time leading goalscorer and second only to Alan Shearer in the competition's all-time list – won five Premier League trophies, while Vieira skippered the Gunners to three titles.

"It's a huge honour for me to be named in the Premier League Hall of Fame, alongside an incredible group of players who have already been inducted," Derby County boss Rooney said.

"Growing up, I watched the Premier League as far back as I can remember.

"To enter the Hall of Fame is very special for me personally and I'm grateful to be recognised."

Vieira, now back in the Premier League as manager of Crystal Palace, echoed Rooney's sentiments, adding: "Being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame is a fantastic achievement.

"To be there with the best players in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is bigger than what I was ever thinking about.

"To have my name around those players makes me proud and makes me realise how good I was."

The Premier League of Hall Fame is in its second year of inception, having begun last year with an initial slate of eight honorees.

Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham were inducted previously as the class of 2021.

Manchester City failed to restore their six-point lead at the Premier League summit as they were held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Palace had been looking to complete a first league double over City since 1987-88 but settled simply for frustrating Pep Guardiola's side, who went the closest to opening the scoring in the first half when Joao Cancelo rattled the woodwork.

Kevin De Bruyne was also denied by the frame of the goal after the interval, with no late winner forthcoming at Selhurst Park.

The stalemate meant City moved just four points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand and are yet to play the champions at the Etihad Stadium.

Michael Olise poked narrowly wide in the opening stages, while Bernardo Silva spurned a glorious chance after Vicente Guaita had spilled a De Bruyne strike at the other end.

De Bruyne then tested Guaita's reactions with an audacious volley, before Cancelo cannoned against the left post with a thunderous long-range effort, with Aymeric Laporte squandering the inviting rebound inside the area.

Riyad Mahrez almost found the top-left corner with a left-footed curler, then De Bruyne struck the right post after the break with his low drive. Guaita tipped over from Mahrez on the follow-up, but a belated offside flag meant a breakthrough goal would not have stood.

Silva wasted another gilt-edged chance to nudge City ahead when he touched wide from Jack Grealish's cross, while Laporte failed to make clean contact with a close-range header late on.

Conor Gallagher could even have stolen victory as his shot from a tight angle rose over Ederson's goal in stoppage time.

Liverpool closed the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to nine points with a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp's side recorded a remarkable 7-0 victory in this exact fixture last season and were soon in command as Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck in the first half at Selhurst Park.

Palace deservedly pulled one back through Odsonne Edouard just after the break, but Fabinho sealed all three points from the penalty spot in the closing stages.

Victory saw Liverpool reduce City's lead at the summit after they were held by Southampton on Saturday, while the Reds still have a game in hand.

A deflected Jordan Henderson strike forced the first save of the contest from Vicente Guaita, but the Palace goalkeeper had no chance of stopping Van Dijk's thumping header from Andrew Robertson's out-swinging corner a minute later.
 
Liverpool doubled their lead just past the half-hour mark as Oxlade-Chamberlain brought down Robertson's inviting delivery and hammered home.
 
Alisson then denied Michael Olise as Palace looked to respond, while Jean-Phillipe Mateta saw his strike deflected wide after rounding the Brazil international.

Conor Gallagher headed a glorious point-blank chance wide immediately after the interval, before Alisson thwarted an inventive Edouard flick.

Palace eventually breached the Liverpool goal after 55 minutes when Mateta latched on to Jeffrey Schlupp's immense throughball and selflessly squared to Edouard for a tap-in.

Joachim Andersen fired narrowly wide moments after and Alisson had to race back to parry Olise's chip, as Liverpool negotiated a spell of sustained pressure.

Klopp's side secured all three points after a lengthy VAR check adjudged Guaita to have fouled Diogo Jota, with Fabinho converting from 12 yards.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was unhappy with the decisions to send Aymeric Laporte off and disallow Gabriel Jesus' goal as his side slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.

Wilfried Zaha scuffed in an early opener before Laporte was shown a straight red card for hauling the Ivory Coast forward down in a promising position.

Jesus thought he had snatched an equaliser despite City's man disadvantage, but the strike was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check, and Conor Gallagher made it 2-0 late on to seal the result.

Leicester City defender Jonny Evans committed an almost identical offence to the one Laporte was dismissed for against Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day, but was only shown a yellow card.

Guardiola, who was unable to mark his 200th Premier League game with a victory, revealed his frustration with the inconsistency of the decisions made and claimed that his team played well for long spells, despite the error that led to the opening goal.

"Many things went wrong," Guardiola said to the BBC after the game. "We conceded an early goal, played a good first half but at the same time there was the sending off and the interpretation from the referee.

"The fans were behind us but unfortunately the goal was disallowed. This afternoon, Jonny Evans with the same action got a yellow card. It is an interpretation from the referee. We made a mistake for the goal and the second one a yellow or red card it depends on the referee.

"It's VAR. I don't know the line. It was a yellow card in Leicester a red here. The referees are the bosses and they decide. The goal we conceded was our mistake."

Palace manager and former Arsenal and City midfielder Patrick Vieira, meanwhile, declined to pass judgement on whether the decisions were accurate, but said that luck was necessary to overcome difficult opponents.

"I wasn't really well-positioned to make a call [on Laporte's red card]," Vieira told the BBC. "That went in our favour, the offside went in our favour. You need that if you want to win at City and we will take it because in the last couple of games we have not had that luck."

The Frenchman also hailed his side's defensive work as a unit, while also singling Zaha out for special praise after a superb showing from the forward.

"You have to defend well and we did it," Vieira continued. "You have to take your chances and we did it and you need a bit of luck because of the quality of their players. When you have those three aspects you have more chance but I am really proud of the way we fought.

"We could not come to a place like this and not have players taking part of the defensive work. Everyone worked really hard. When you sacrifice yourself like that you are really pleased when you get a win.

"What is important is to keep improving ourselves. This is a group that needs to play more games together and believe more in themselves. I am pleased with the step we made today. We have started to have confidence in ourselves but there is still a lot they can give.

"When Wilf is like that, taking his chances and working really hard, he is somebody who is really strong on one versus one. His personality, his character he is a winner. He worked really hard and this is what I expect and want from him."

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha heaped praise on manager Patrick Vieira after a shock 2-0 victory over defending Premier League champions Manchester City.

Zaha opened the scoring in the sixth minute, becoming the first player to reach 50 goals in the Premier League for Palace, before Aymeric Laporte was sent off for bringing him down and Conor Gallagher wrapped up the points late on.

The unexpected win at the Etihad Stadium saw the Eagles end their run of four consecutive draws and rise to 13th in the table, and Zaha was quick to credit Vieira for the team's positive form.

Vieira ended his playing career at City and then began his coaching career with the north-west club, bossing the reserve team before moving on to sister club New York City FC. He had a spell with Nice and joined Palace in July of this year.

"I feel like we have had a threat [before] but the difference now is that we keep the ball from the back and build and make our chances," Zaha said after the game. "We are exploiting our talent.

"[Vieira] knows what he is talking about and we have all seen him do it. It's surreal because he was an amazing player. Every player is buying into it and slowly the results will come."

The Ivory Coast forward was pleased with how Palace disrupted City and revealed delight at his growing connection with on-loan Chelsea midfielder Gallagher.

"It was about getting in their faces and not letting them play," said Zaha, according to the BBC. "We know how good they are, we wanted to show them what we could do."

His goal was not a clean strike, as Zaha admitted.

"I scuffed it, but a goal is a goal," he said. "I was just buzzing to see it go in, so I was happy. Conor Gallagher brings a lot of energy and I needed people to link up with."

City defender Dias was downcast about the result and questioned whether Laporte's challenge on Zaha was worthy of a red card, with Leicester City's Jonny Evans shown only a yellow for a similar offence against Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day.

"The reaction is that we have a game in a short period of time and we are already thinking about it," Dias said. "Today we lost three very important points, but it is football. We are not happy but looking forward. Today we were not at our best, but even so the team fought and gave everything and it was not enough."

On the dismissal of Laporte, Dias said: "It was a little bit strange to see a red. I was walking back thinking it was a yellow. I never thought [the referee] would go for a red but we have to accept it."

Crystal Palace earned a stunning 2-0 win at Manchester City as Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher spoiled the party in Pep Guardiola's 200th Premier League game.

City suffered a first home league defeat of the season and had Aymeric Laporte sent off, the defender having earlier committed the error that gifted Zaha his sixth-minute opening goal - his 50th in the league for Palace.

Spain international Laporte struggled to deal with the Eagles' star forward and was caught out again in first-half stoppage time, denying Zaha a goalscoring opportunity as the last man with a clumsy challenge and being shown a red card.

Gallagher put the result beyond doubt with two minutes of normal time left to play, emphatically finishing off a counter-attack after good work from Zaha and Michael Olise.

Zaha gave Palace a shock early lead as Gallagher caught Laporte on the ball at the back before finding the Ivory Coast forward, who scuffed a low shot beyond Ederson and into the bottom-right corner.

City struggled to find their rhythm for most of the first half and Laporte's afternoon went from bad to worse just before the break as the centre-back was shown a straight red card for hauling Zaha down as the Eagles forward was set to go clean through on goal.

The hosts thought they had drawn level on the hour mark as substitute John Stones – a minute after his introduction – picked out Phil Foden with a terrific raking pass and the 21-year-old clipped a ball to the back post where Jesus squeezed home from a tight angle, but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check.

City pushed for an equaliser in the remaining half-hour, but Palace remained resolute and stung the hosts in the 88th minute. Zaha held the ball in the box before squaring to Olise, who laid it off for Gallagher with one touch, allowing the midfielder to thump into the top-right corner and ensure Guardiola's landmark game ended with the Spanish boss empty-handed for once.

Alexandre Lacazette struck a stoppage-time equaliser as Arsenal rescued a point in their 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.

The Gunners made the ideal start at Emirates Stadium, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finding the net for a third successive home match to give them an early lead.

However, Palace hit after the break as Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard completed the turnaround on Patrick Vieira's return to his former club.

But with virtually the last kick of the game, substitute Lacazette fired home a dramatic leveller to stretch the hosts' unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions.

Arsenal were aiming for a fourth straight home victory and they took the lead after just eight minutes on Monday.

After an initial corner was overhit, Vicente Guaita did well to push away Nicolas Pepe's curling shot, but Aubameyang was in the right place to volley the rebound into an empty net from close range.

Seeking a first away win in seven attempts under Vieira, who won three Premier League titles as a Gunner, Palace looked to respond before the break.

Benteke drilled a low effort straight at Aaron Ramsdale, who also demonstrated brilliant reflexes to tip Conor Gallagher's stoppage-time volley wide.

But there was no denying Benteke five minutes after the break. Thomas Partey was caught in possession by Jordan Ayew, and former the Liverpool striker skipped away from a challenge before firing home his first goal of the season.

Arsenal were ruthlessly punished again moments after Guaita brilliantly denied Lacazette, the ball stolen from Albert Sambi Lokonga as Gallagher led a devastating counter before Michael Olise set up Edouard, who beat Ramsdale off the underside of the crossbar.

However, Palace were denied in the fifth minute of stoppage time, when Lacazette pounced for a dramatic equaliser after Guaita parried Ben White’s initial strike directly into his path.

Patrick Vieira is anticipating an emotional reunion with Arsenal, but the Crystal Palace manager is out to beat his former club.

Vieira spent nine years with Arsenal between 1996 and 2005, helping Arsene Wenger's side win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups before he left for Juventus.

The 45-year-old made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, with only five players making more for the club in the competition. In fact, Vieira will be just the fourth person to have played for the Gunners in the Premier League and then managed against them in the competition, after David O'Leary (W3 D2 L9), Tony Adams (L1) and Remi Garde (L1).

He has never faced the Gunners as a coach, though did play against them twice, with Juve and Manchester City, but did not manage to win on either occasion.

Vieira is out to change that record when Palace, who came from behind in impressive fashion to draw 2-2 with Leicester City before the international break, visit Emirates Stadium on Monday.

"The focus and concentration will be on how can we perform well," said Vieira, who was just 20 when he joined Arsenal from Milan.

"I am really looking forward to it. I had the chance to play for this football club [Arsenal] for nine years. I arrived at this football club when I was a kid and I left as a man.

"That is the club where I played my best football I would say. So obviously going back there will be emotional, but I will put that on the side because it will be important for us to perform well and to get points.

"It's about controlling yourself as a manager and controlling the emotion. I always try to do that and will try to do that again on Monday."

Recent history of Palace's trips to Emirates Stadium would suggest Vieira has a good chance of breaking his duck against Arsenal, with the Eagles unbeaten in their last three such games (W1 D2).

However, Arsenal have won their last seven league matches played on Monday, scoring 15 times and conceding just twice.

Palace ended an 11-game winless run in Premier League London derbies when they beat Tottenham 3-0 last month, though Arsenal have won four of their last five top-flight home matches.

Mikel Arteta is still demanding more improvements as Arsenal continue their recovery from a poor start to the season and prepare to face Crystal Palace.

The Gunners were winless in their first three Premier League games but responded by winning their next three before a draw with Brighton and Hove Albion took them to five games unbeaten in all competitions.

Initial calls for Arteta's sacking have somewhat faded away, at least temporarily, as Arsenal look to defeat the Eagles for just the second time in seven top-flight meetings between the pair.

Arteta, who was named September's Premier League Manager of the Month, has been impressed in the upturn in form but still wants more from his side as the domestic season returns.

"We managed to turn things around a little bit [during the previous international break] but there is still a big margin for improvement," Arteta told reporters at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"But we got important results that were very needed in that moment and we just need to think about doing things better, progressing up the table and focus on winning our next match.

"It is the opportunity that this game gives you and you have to stand up, keep believing, work hard, be critical and analyse things to try to change them and improve them. Football always gives you another opportunity.

"When you're in a good moment, you want to carry on playing as quickly as possible. When the confidence is there, and the momentum is there, you want to continue, but again, we knew that we had to stop after that game.

"[We knew] that we had to get as many points as possible, and we did well enough to do that and be in a different position than a month ago, and now we have to just improve it."

Arsenal have mustered just five goals from their opening seven league games – their fewest at this stage since 1986-87 – and Arteta implored his side to improve their finishing.

"It is certainly something we can do better and improve in our efficiency in front of goal, and when we get that balance right it will obviously help us to win more game," he continued.

Patrick Vieira, who made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, returns to his former club with Palace – becoming just the fourth man to play for the Gunners and manage against them in the competition.

Arteta – aware of Vieira's legendary status, with only five players appearing more in the league for the north London club – expects a warm welcome for the former France midfielder from the Emirates Stadium crowd.

"He is an Arsenal legend and I hope he gets the reception he deserves for what he did for the club, not only as a player but also what he transmitted as a person," he added. 

"He was a captain of the club in the most successful era in the last many years and it is great to have him back."

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