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Crystal Palace 2-2 Arsenal: Luka Milivojevic score two penalty and bring an end to Unai Emery’s winning streak

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.


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.

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.


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