Crystal Palace took their chances well in a 3-2 win against Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday that left the hosts in fourth place and clinging to a Champions League spot.
However, Arsenal drew level early in the second half as Mesut Ozil buried a near-post shot after some nice build-up play to even the score at 1-1.
James McArthur added a third for Palace and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back for Arsenal, but it was too little too late for the hosts who were handed an untimely loss in their quest for the Champions League places after top-four rivals Manchester United were thrashed by Everton earlier in the day.
The result ensured Palace’s Premier League status for another season as they moved to 12th spot in the standings with 42 points.
“It’s nice to get over the 40-point marker and to have safety mathematically confirmed,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson said.
“Our defensive shape was fantastic. We remained compact and narrow. We made it difficult to find spaces behind us. I then thought on the counter-attack we were remarkably dangerous.”
Hodgson was particularly impressed by Benteke’s return to the scoresheet after 19 league games and now expects the Belgian striker to finish the season with a flourish.
“Christian Benteke must be very confident after today’s performance,” the manager added.
“It wasn’t the fact he scored and set one up, he worked tirelessly and did a job offensively and defensively. He and Wilfried Zaha will feel they really did a job for the team.
“For Christian who’s had a rough time with injuries and not scoring the amount of goals he wants maybe with the final few games he will score a few more.”