Crystal Palace 2-2 Arsenal: Luka Milivojevic converts two penalties

Crystal Palace 2-2 Arsenal: Luka Milivojevic converts two penalties to make up for miss against Everton and bring an end to Unai Emery’s winning streak

  • Luka Milivojevic converts from the penalty spot after Shkodran Mustafi brought down Cheikhou Kouyate 
  • Granit Xhaka brought Arsenal back on level terms with a spectacular free-kick early in the second-half
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang edged Arsenal into the lead with his strike awarded with goal-line technology
  • Milivojevic levelled from the spot with another penalty after Xhaka brought Wilfried Zaha down in the box 

They are rare, players like Wilfried Zaha. It is because he is so direct that makes him so dangerous. English football does not necessarily encourage this type of play and at times Zaha will frustrate people by making the wrong decisions.

But the Crystal Palace winger carries a rare threat and here at Selhurst Park it was enough to overcome the odds and the fall-out from some disastrous refereeing to earn Roy Hodgson’s team a point and ensure Arsenal’s sequence of victories stayed forever more on eleven.

Up by a goal at half time after a 45th minute penalty from Luka Milivojevic, Palace were set back on their heels early in the second half first by a bullet free-kick from the left foot of Granit Xhaka and then by a Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng goal that should never have stood. 

Milivojevic of Crystal Palace celebrates with a knee-slide as the home side take the lead over Arsenal on Sunday afternoon

Milivojevic of Crystal Palace celebrates with a knee-slide as the home side take the lead over Arsenal on Sunday afternoon

Granit Xhaka can't believe the decision as Martin Atkinson points to the spot after he fouled Wilfried Zaha (not pictured)

Granit Xhaka can’t believe the decision as Martin Atkinson points to the spot after he fouled Wilfried Zaha (not pictured)

Milivojevic fired in his second penalty of the afternoon to bring Crystal Palace back on level terms and earn a vital point

Milivojevic fired in his second penalty of the afternoon to bring Crystal Palace back on level terms and earn a vital point

Milivojevic celebrates his second goal of the afternoon with the Crystal Palace fans as they fight their way to an earned point

Milivojevic celebrates his second goal of the afternoon with the Crystal Palace fans as they fight their way to an earned point

Arsenal midfielder Xhaka fires in a fierce strike at goal from a tight angle in the early stages of the second half at Selhurst Park

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang salutes the travelling Arsenal fans after firing in his seventh Premier League goal of the season

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang salutes the travelling Arsenal fans after firing in his seventh Premier League goal of the season

A dejected Lucas Torreira of Arsenal at full time after Arsenal draw 2-2 against Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon

A dejected Lucas Torreira of Arsenal at full time after Arsenal draw 2-2 against Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon

MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE 

CRYSTAL PALACE (4-3-3): Hennessey 6; Wan-Bissaka 6, Tomkins 6.5, Sakho 6, Van Aanholt 6; Townsend 6, Kouyate 6.5 (Puncheon 88 6) , Milivojevic 7, McArthur 6 (Meyer 62 7); Ayew 6 (Sorloth 64 6.5), Zaha 7.5.

Subs not used: Guaita, Riedwald, Kelly, Schlupp.

Goals: Milivojevic 45 (pen), 85 (pen).

Bookings: Ayew.

Manager: Roy Hodgson 6.5.

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Leno 6; Bellerin 6, Holding 6.5, Mustafi 6.5, Xhaka 6; Guendouzi 6, Torreira 6.5, Iwobi 6.5; Ozil 5.5 (Welbeck 67 6), Lacazette 6, Aubameyang 6 (Ramsey 78) 6.

Subs not used: Cech, Sokratis, Mkhitaryan, Smith-Rowe.

Goals: Xhaka 52, Aubameyang 56.

Bookings: Lichtsteiner, Guendouzi.

Manager: Unai Emery 6.

Referee: Martin Atkinson 4.

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Pierre Emerick Aubameyang pokes in Arsenal's second goal. For more from Match Zone, click here.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang pokes in Arsenal’s second goal. For more from Match Zone, click here.

The handball from Alexandre Lacazette in the build-up was as clear as day and how referee Martin Atkinson and his assistants missed it we will never know.

So Palace were up against it when Zaha was given possession down the right with less than ten minutes to go. The home team had responded well to Arsenal’s two goals but did look as though they were going to lose unjustly.

But Zaha knew that if he ran at Xhaka he would unsettle him and maybe even panic him and that is what happened. You will never worry someone with a square pass but you will if you get on your toes and as Zaha drew the challenge from the Arsenal player he went to ground and Atkinson was always going to give the penalty from which Milivojevic scored.

There was not a huge amount of contact from Xhaka and Zaha could possibly have tried to stay upright. But things work differently at full pace and Xhaka’s movement towards his opponent was enough to unbalance him and the penalty was the right call.

This always felt as though it would be a test for Unai Emery’s improved Arsenal team. Coming here on a run of eleven wins, Arsenal needed to do more than play nicely if they were to extend that sequence.

Selhurst Park lacks a little in terms of atmosphere now that their splendid Ultras have been dispersed to various corners of the ground but Hodgson’s team will more often than not provide a stern test on their own ground. 

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi fouls Crystal Palace star Cheikhou Kouyate in the Arsenal box to concede a penalty kick

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi fouls Crystal Palace star Cheikhou Kouyate in the Arsenal box to concede a penalty kick

Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace scores his side's first goal from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time against Arsenal

Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace scores his side’s first goal from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time against Arsenal

Bernd Leno of Arsenal fails to stop a penalty from Milivojevic as Crystal Palace go a goal in front just before half-time 

Bernd Leno of Arsenal fails to stop a penalty from Milivojevic as Crystal Palace go a goal in front just before half-time 

Wayne Hennessey of Crystal Palace fails to stop a spectacular shot from Xhaka as Arsenal move level the score on Sunday

Wayne Hennessey of Crystal Palace fails to stop a spectacular shot from Xhaka as Arsenal move level the score on Sunday

Xhaka celebrates with a fist pump after his fantastic free-kick effort flies into the Crystal Palace goal to bring Arsenal level

Xhaka runs to celebrate his goal with Arsenal head coach Unai Emery to signify a strengthening bond between the pair

Xhaka runs to celebrate his goal with Arsenal head coach Unai Emery to signify a strengthening bond between the pair

Arsenal's Aubameyang poke an effort on goal and Hennessey just fails to keep the ball out before it crosses the line

Arsenal’s Aubameyang poke an effort on goal and Hennessey just fails to keep the ball out before it crosses the line

That was how it turned out over the course of an opening half that saw Palace create the best chances and eventually take the lead. 

The goal was a penalty conceded unnecessarily by Shkodran Mustafi in the very last moment of the first period. Arsenal did not deal with a corner very well and when it fell to Cheikhou Kouyate Mustafi dived in from behind recklessly. There may not have been an awful lot of contact but Mustafi should have stayed on his feet and the way that Milivojevic converted the penalty – low in to the goalkeeper’s right corner – was exemplary.

The Arsenal coaching staff did not seem best pleased by the whole thing. As the teams and officials left the field at half-time, one of Emery’s coaches approached Martin Atkinson and made his feelings clear but it was hard to sympathise. Over the course of the opening 45 minutes, Arsenal had played well only in patches and had not been consistent enough.

Palace should actually have been ahead earlier. Zaha had been lively and dangerous early on, giving Arsenal rightr-back Hector Bellerin a thorough examination down that side of the field. But when the chances came, he and his team-mates could not initially take them.

A surging run down the right by Andros Townsend in the 15th minute resulted in a low cross that missed out everybody to reach Zaha at the far post. The Palace winger did everything right as he gave Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno the eyes before dragging is right foot shot to the near side. Had Zaha’s aim been six inches better, the opening goal would have been his but as it was the ball struck the foot of the post. 

Less than a minute later Zaha was involved again as he played a lovely one-two with overlapping left-back Patrick van Aanholt. But when Aanholt pulled the ball pack perfectly in to the stride of Townsend, the former Spurs forward could only side foot the ball wide from eight yards. 

The Gabon's goal was awarded with the help of goal-line technology, which shows it went over the line by the slightest margin

The Gabon’s goal was awarded with the help of goal-line technology, which shows it went over the line by the slightest margin

Aubameyang's acrobatic celebration caught in mid-flow as he fires Arsenal into the lead over Crystal Palace on Sunday

Aubameyang’s acrobatic celebration caught in mid-flow as he fires Arsenal into the lead over Crystal Palace on Sunday

Milivojevic of Crystal Palace scores his side’s second goal from the penalty spot to earn a point against Arsenal on Sunday

Milivojevic celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game, which seals a point for Crystal Palace against Arsenal

Milivojevic celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game, which seals a point for Crystal Palace against Arsenal

Arsenal's Stephan Lichtsteiner retrieves the ball as Mustafi (left) and Lucas Torreira look dejected after conceding a second

Arsenal’s Stephan Lichtsteiner retrieves the ball as Mustafi (left) and Lucas Torreira look dejected after conceding a second

That was a bad miss and it was a shame as it would have been a lovely goal. Equally for a while it looked as though Arsenal may make Palace pay. When you play the better teams you normally need to take your chances and one feared for Palace as Arsenal started to impose themselves.

For the Gunners, two chances arrived in quick succession midway through the half as first Milivojevic slipped over to present Lacazatte with a chance and then slick play down the right allowed Mesut Ozil to set up Bellerin. But Lacazette – much improved this season – slid his chance dreadfully wide and Bellerin hesitated in allowing a defender to block.

This was a little typical of Arsenal’s play. At times they looked dangerous – especially when Bellerin advanced to join in down the right – but too often they were hesitant when it mattered. For Palace, Jordan Ayew was maybe a little lucky to stay on the field after an early booking was followed by another foul but on the whole it was hard to deny them the right to be ahead. The mistake they then made was to start the second half too slowly.

Arsenal have generally increased their levels in the second half of games recently and their most recent win at home to Leicester was a case in point. Here they indeed emerged to play with greater urgency and Xhaka scored his spectacular equaliser in the 52nd minute. 

When Milivojevic fouled Lucas Torreira on the angle of the penalty area, it seemed as though the danger would come from one of the Arsenal defenders arriving to add an ariel presence at the far post. But instead Xhaka took aim at the top corner and delivered a terrific shot across Wayne Hennessey that the Palace goalkeeper could only touch on to the post and in. 

Members of the crowd stand for a minute's applause in solidarity with Leicester City following Saturday's helicopter crash

Members of the crowd stand for a minute’s applause in solidarity with Leicester City following Saturday’s helicopter crash

Andros Townsend looks dejected after missing a very good chance to fire Crystal Palace into an early lead over Arsenal

Andros Townsend looks dejected after missing a very good chance to fire Crystal Palace into an early lead over Arsenal

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette trips as he lines up a shot on the Crystal Palace goal and fails to find the target

Crystal Palace's Cheikhou Kouyate (centre) argues with Arsenal's Granit Xhaka (right) with Rob Holding acting as peacemaker

Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate (centre) argues with Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka (right) with Rob Holding acting as peacemaker

Rob Holding of Arsenal complains to the officials after having his shirt ripped during the Premier League match

Rob Holding of Arsenal complains to the officials after having his shirt ripped during the Premier League match

It was a stunning goal but the one that followed within four minutes was ridiculous. Lacazette clearly handled the corner as it was swung in to the box by Xhaka. The offence was visible even from the back of the stand. But referee Atkinson didn’t see it and Aubameyang bundled Arsenal in to the lead at the far post.

Fuelled maybe a sense of injustice, Palace came back at Arsenal. Substitute Max Mayer struck the angle of post and bar as he made inroads down the left and then scooped another shot over from a similar position after Zaha had induced a little panic with a run in to the penalty area.

Amid the substitutions, Ozil was replaced by Danny Welbeck with 23 minutes left. Ignoring his manager’s offer of a high five, Ozil then threw his gloves across the front of the dug out. Not happy, then.

Back to matters on the field, Arsenal were having to work increasingly hard in and around their own penalty area. That is unlikely to have been unconnected to Ozil’s withdrawal.

As time wore on, Palace’s threat was always there but equally they didn’t necessarily look as they would score. But some loose play by Arsenal on the counter gave substitute Alexander Sorloth a chance to drive in to opposition territory and when he fed Zaha the visitors looked to be in trouble.

Zaha cut left inside Xhaka and when the challenge came it was clumsy and nowhere near the ball. Zaha went down and his captain Milivojevic scored from the spot to give his team a point they most definitely deserved.

Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew (right) falls under pressure from Arsenal defender Mustafi but calls for a penalty are denied

Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew (right) falls under pressure from Arsenal defender Mustafi but calls for a penalty are denied

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil goes up against Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic (left) during Sunday's Premier League match

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil goes up against Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic (left) during Sunday’s Premier League match

Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Crystal Palace executes a slide tackle on Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi during the game's first half

Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Crystal Palace executes a slide tackle on Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi during the game’s first half

Crystal Palace forward Zaha attempts to keep the ball amidst heavy pressure from Arsenal's Iwobi and Matteo Guendouzi

Crystal Palace forward Zaha attempts to keep the ball amidst heavy pressure from Arsenal’s Iwobi and Matteo Guendouzi

Arsenal head coach Emery looks frustrated on the touchline as his players fail to keep their lead intact at Selhurst Park

Arsenal head coach Emery looks frustrated on the touchline as his players fail to keep their lead intact at Selhurst Park


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