Crystal Palace 2 Arsenal 2
Milivojevic 45+1 pen, 83 pen Xhaka 51, Aubameyang 56

Arsenal will have tougher battles than this one at Selhurst Park. A London derby with Crystal Palace stood in the way of the Gunners increasing their eleven game winning run, and that was on the cards until seven minutes from time. Having come from behind to a Luka Milivojevic penalty on the stroke of half time, the Gunners had fired themselves into the lead courtesy Granit Xhaka’s stunning free kick to level on 51 minutes and then five minutes later, Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang with a poachers’s finish at the back post. Palace hadn’t scored at home in the Premier League prior to this match, but late on they would level via the same route. Wilfried Zaha won a controversial penalty, there was minimal contact with Xhaka, but a penalty was awarded and Milivojevic converted again from the spot.

Unai Emery made six changes from the side which beat Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League last Thursday, and Xhaka was again entrusted to the left back role. After his captain’s performance in the 3-1 win over Leicester City, Mesut Ozil was again award the captain’s armband.

Palace fizzed forward at will, targeting Hector Bellerin at right back. Zaha struck Bernd Leno’s upright after a swift move and Andros Townsend hit wide after another creative move. Alexandre Lacazette should have opened the scoring with a shot he struck wide, while Bellerin also had a sighter for the opener.

When Rob Holding conceded a corner, the Arsenal defence were panicked, none more so than Shkodran Mustafi who didn’t need to slide into Cheikhou Kouayate and give away a penalty just before half time. Milivojevic sent Leno the wrong way for the opener, but the Gunners would respond well after the break.

Milivojevic clattered into Lucas Torreira and Xhaka stepped up for the free kick. From and angled 20 yards, the Swiss defender let fly with a thunderbolt which Wayne Hennessey got a palm to but was unable to stop the ball flying into his net.

Arsenal were revitalised and began to go through the gears. They took the lead when Aubameyang stabbed in at the far post after Xhaka’s corner was helped on by a combination of Jordan Ayew’s head a was that a hand from Lacazette? Goal line technology was needed to adjudge that Aubameyang’s effort was nine millimetres over the line and Arsenal were in front.

Palace were not done there however. When an Arsenal attack faltered, the ball ended up with Xhaka. The winger tempted Xhaka to stick a leg out, but the contact seemed minimal and unworthy of the dive which followed from the Palace man. Another penalty was the decision of referee Martin Atkinson, and Milivojevic again converted from the spot to level.

Arsenal’s winning run may have come to an end, but the point will help this side focus when tougher tests are faced further on in the season. Emery was keen to stress that his side must chose the best ball distribution when attacking, and highlighted Laczette’s poor pass which lead to Palace’s leveller.

“The second (Palace) goal was an action where we had the ball in the opposition box and we did one bad pass. When we are in the box, in the opposition box, I want us to show aggression to find the last action to score or shoot, to win a corner or whatever action.

“But with this pass, we lost the ball and then they scored from the transition. For me, there are things that happen on the pitch when we continue in our process to learn, and the mentality we need to show when we are in the good moments to keep and hold the ball.

“We need to keep that mentality to continue to find our moments and our chances. In the last 10 minutes, I wanted to push for that, but that didn’t happen for us because it was not very easy for us on the pitch.”

On the game in general, Emery reflected on a thorough examination of his side in south London.

“For us the first half was not easy. When they scored it is the moment when we are on the pitch with the control, but not doing a lot of things in the attacking third.

“In the second half we scored two goals in two actions. They were pushing with their supporters and every player was attacking us. In this moment we needed the control because we lost our position and we needed to have scored the third goal, we needed to be calm.

“We cannot do a good transition from this. I wanted to push, I wanted to continue to find our moment to win the match, but we could not.”

Next up is the arrival of Blackpool at the Emirates in Wednesdays’s Carabao Cup fourth round, where Emery will no doubt rotate his starting eleven.