LONDON: Arsenal’s 11-game winning run ended in a 2-2 Premier League draw at Crystal Palace on Sunday as two penalties by Luka Milivojevic earned the hosts a battling point.
Palace captain Milivojevic, who missed a penalty at Everton last week, converted one just before halftime, after Shkodran Mustafi tripped Cheikh Kouyate, the South London side’s first goal at home in five games this season.
Granit Xhaka equalised with a fierce free kick early in the second half and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a controversial second for Arsenal five minutes later.
Milivojevic’s second penalty six minutes from time earned Palace a point to move Roy Hodgson’s team up to 14th.
“I didn’t have doubts, but you feel some pressure after last week when I missed,” Serbian international Milivojevic said.
“I got good power to both and shot both very well so I’m very happy.”
Each team forced good chances as an end-to-end game burst into life after quarter of an hour.
Visiting goalkeeper Bernd Leno, preferred to Petr Cech, was beaten by Wilfried Zaha’s effort which hit the outside of the post, and Andros Townsend put his effort wide.
Arsenal responded with opportunities for Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin.
Mustafi survived an appeal for a penalty after Jordan Ayew went down but was penalised for his trip on Kouyate and Milivojevic gave the home side a halftime lead.
Arsenal lost Bellerin for the second half, Stephan Lichtsteiner deputising, but they went ahead in a dominant quarter of an hour spell.
Palace were unhappy with the second goal, however, claiming with justification that Lacazette handled before Aubameyang jabbed the ball just over the line.
They shook off the frustration with substitute Max Meyer hitting a post and when Zaha, dangerous as ever, was tripped by Xhaka, Milivojevic did a captain’s job again to end a run of three defeats.
Arsenal, who had won 11 successive games in all competitions, stayed fourth but lost ground on London rivals Chelsea who crushed Burnley 4-0 to go second.The London club are two points behind leaders Liverpool and one point ahead of champions Manchester City, who play away to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side barely noticed the absence of Eden Hazard as Willian, starting in the Belgian’s normal position on the left, scored and hit a post.
Spanish striker Alvaro Morata gave Chelsea the lead midway through a first half in which he might have netted three times.
England midfielder Ross Barkley set him up for that goal and added the second himself from outside the penalty area early in the second half.
Brazilian Willian curled the third past Burnley goalkeeper Joe Hart five minutes later and substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek completed the scoring in stoppage-time.
NDIDI RESCUES LEICESTER
Leicester City avoided a third successive English defeat after a late equaliser from Wilfred Ndidi rescued a 1-1 draw with West Ham at King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Manager Claude Puel dropped talismanic striker Jamie Vardy to the Leicester bench and the controversial decision looked to have backfired when his side went behind in the 30th minute. Fabian Balbuena’s first goal for West Ham came from a rebound after his diving header bounced off the post.
The visitors, though, were reduced to 10 men eight minutes later after Mark Noble was red-carded for a dangerous tackle on Ndidi.
Vardy came on as a halftime substitute for Rachid Ghezzal and the former England forward wasted two good chances as Leicester laid siege to the West Ham goal.
The home team finally leveled with one minute remaining when Ndidi’s long-range shot went in after taking a big deflection off Balbuena.
The match ended on a sour note with Leicester’s Daniel Amartey being carried off on a stretcher, needing oxygen after appearing to get his studs caught in the turf.
Published in Dawn, October 29th , 2018
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