Zero to hero for Palace penalty-taker Milivojevic as Eagles hold Arsenal to draw
Palace captain scored two penalties to bring an end to Arsenal’s winning streak.
Luka Milivojevic achieved redemption by scoring a brace of penalties as Crystal Palace ended Arsenal’s winning run with a deserved draw at Selhurst Park.
Arsenal had looked on course to record a 12th consecutive win in all competitions after a superb Granit Xhaka free-kick and a controversial Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strike had cancelled out Milivojevic’s penalty on the stroke of half-time.
But the Palace captain, who missed from 12 yards in the defeat at Everton last weekend, made no mistake in securing a 2-2 draw when referee Martin Atkinson awarded the hosts a second penalty of the afternoon.
The goals were the first scored at home in the league by the Eagles this season and earned them a share of the spoils against an in-form Arsenal side who had again started the game slowly.
It was a sombre start to the afternoon in south London, both clubs paying respect to those affected by the helicopter crash at Leicester City the previous evening.
The players sported black armbands and there was warm applause from everyone inside Selhurst Park in the build-up to kick-off.
As has been the case for much of the season, Palace’s brightest spark was Wilfried Zaha, who was fouled early on before bursting past Shkodran Mustafi to earn the hosts an early corner.
Zaha then had and early chance to open the scoring and break Palace’s long-standing goal drought but could only turn an effort onto the post before Andros Townsend fired wide at the end of a good move.
Arsenal have struggled to start recent games with any sort of vigour and that was the same here – but Alexandre Lacazette came close to an opener as he curled a strike wide of Wayne Hennessey’s post.
Hector Bellerin then exchanged passes with captain Mesut Ozil before seeing his goalbound effort blocked as Emery’s visitors started to up the pace.
But it was Palace who went into the break in front with Milivojevic making amends for his miss at Goodison Park as he sent Bernd Leno the wrong way from the spot after Mustafi had tripped Cheikhou Kouyate.
While Arsenal have started slowly under Emery, they have been so impressive in the second half of games and they were ahead just 11 minutes after the restart.
Milivojevic fouled Lucas Torreira on the corner of the box and Xhaka curled home a perfect free-kick, with Hennessey only able to get a hand on the Switzerland international’s powerful strike.
Five minutes later and the visitors led, albeit in controversial circumstances as Lacazette appeared to use his hand to guide Xhaka’s corner to the back-post, where Aubameyang swept home with Hennessey unable to stop the ball crossing the line.
Roy Hodgson reacted by introducing Max Meyer and Alexander Sorloth off the bench, the former cracking a strike off the woodwork soon after as Palace chased an equaliser.
Ozil was then replaced by Danny Welbeck for the visitors, with the ineffectual German playmaker tossing his gloves to the ground after trudging off the field.
Xhaka took the captain’s armband from Ozil but was guilty of catching Zaha inside the area with just seven minutes left on the clock, Milivojevic again winning a battle of wits with Leno to equalise for Palace.