Patrick Vieira was sacked by Crystal Palace on Friday (Image: Getty)

Martin Keown has criticized Crystal Palace for sacking his former Arsenal teammate Patrick Vieira.

Palace said goodbye to Vieira on Friday, with the Eagles having yet to win a game in 2023 and are now embroiled in a relegation battle.

Despite being 12th in the table, the Eagles are just three points above the relegation zone as they prepare for Sunday’s game against Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Palace have already confirmed U18 coach and former captain Paddy McCarthy will take over in charge of the team at the Emirates, while it has been reported that Vieira’s predecessor Roy Hodgson could return to Selhurst Park.

The former England manager was in charge from 2017 to 2021, although the 75-year-old claimed last year he does not expect to take on another managerial role.

Reaction to Vieira’s dismissal was mixed, but Keown was not happy at all, telling the Daily Mail: “Crystal Palace have made a serious mistake in sacking a fantastic young manager.

“They panicked and the timing feels particularly painful as Patrick Vieira prepared to return to Arsenal, the club he still loves.

Roy Hodgson would be interested in returning to Palace towards the end of the season (Image: Getty)

“I visited Palace’s training ground last month and shadowed him all day. There was perfect harmony between Vieira and his players, who I suspect took Friday’s news to heart.

“Palace didn’t win in 2023, but their schedule couldn’t have been more brutal. It’s almost as if they’ve been told their season in the Premier League will be split in two: playing in the top half of the table before the international break in March, and then in the bottom half.

Amid that demanding run, Palace secured credible draws against Manchester United, Newcastle, Brighton, Brentford and Liverpool. Apart from Tottenham, lost matches by one goal.

“It didn’t smell like a club in crisis. After Arsenal, there are still eight of the ten games Palace still have to play against sides in the relegation race.

“So much has been made about the lack of shots, but when they went to Brighton on Wednesday they had 11 tries.

The Palace players fought for their manager and the board should have trusted Vieira to turn things around. Unfortunately, he won’t get that chance.”