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Luka Milivojevic insists he had no doubts over penalty taking

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Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic had no doubts over his penalty-taking ability after hitting two against Arsenal

  • Luka Milivojevic stepped up to convert two penalties and seal draw with Arsenal
  • The Crystal Palace captain missed a crucial spot-kick against Everton last week
  • Milivojevic says the missed penalty did not knock his confidence from the spot 

Mark Mann-bryans, Press Association Sport

Luka Milivojevic insists his confidence from the spot never waned as he scored two penalties to earn Crystal Palace a deserved draw against Arsenal on Sunday.

The Gunners looked on course to extend their winning run to 12 matches until the Eagles captain netted a late spot-kick to seal a 2-2 draw.

Milivojevic, who missed from 12 yards in defeat at Everton the previous week, had put Palace in front in first-half stoppage-time after Shkodran Mustafi fouled Cheikhou Kouyate.

Luka Milivojevic celebrates with a knee-slide as Crystal Palace take the lead over Arsenal

Luka Milivojevic celebrates with a knee-slide as Crystal Palace take the lead over Arsenal

Granit Xhaka’s superb free-kick and a controversial strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw the Gunners turn things around after the interval, only for Xhaka to upend Wilfried Zaha with seven minutes left.

Milivojevic stepped up to beat Bernd Leno for a second time – his goals the first scored at home by Palace in the Premier League this season.

Despite missing at Everton when the game was goalless and seeing the Toffees go on to secure a 2-0 win, the Serbia international never intended on shirking the responsibility from the spot.

‘I’m very happy after this game,’ he told Palace TV.

Milivojevic scored the first goal from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time

Milivojevic scored the first goal from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time

Milivojevic scored the first goal from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time

Bernd Leno of Arsenal failed to stop a penalty from Milivojevic just before half-time

Bernd Leno of Arsenal failed to stop a penalty from Milivojevic just before half-time

Bernd Leno of Arsenal failed to stop a penalty from Milivojevic just before half-time



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‘It is not easy when you miss and straight away in the next game you have penalties but as I said, I had confidence to take them and that I was sure I was going to score.

‘I just decided where I wanted to go, where I want to shoot. I put pace into it and thank God I scored. Before the game I decided where I wanted to go.

‘The second one was very hard to take, it was in the 83rd minute and we were very tired because we pushed a lot.

‘I think I shot very accurately with the second one as well and I think from this game we deserved at least a point.

‘When you feel a lot of pressure on your back and then you score, your pressure goes down.

‘From the beginning of the season we played many good games and in the end dropped the points and lost the game.’

Unai Emery’s Arsenal had appeared to turn the game in their favour, equalising through Xhaka’s effort and going in front as Aubameyang turned home after Alexandre Lacazette had handled the ball.

The Gunners had won their previous 11 matches heading to Selhurst Park but have been starting games slowly in recent weeks.

He fired in his second penalty of the afternoon to bring Crystal Palace back on level terms

He fired in his second penalty of the afternoon to bring Crystal Palace back on level terms

He fired in his second penalty of the afternoon to bring Crystal Palace back on level terms

That pattern continued in south London and defender Rob Holding conceded after the game that Arsenal need to be at it from the start from now on.

‘We’ve come out in the second half in our past few matches and really turned on the style and scored some goals,’ he said.

‘We just need to start a bit faster and play how we do in the second half. That’s something to work on for the next game.

‘It’s the end of the winning run and we’re disappointed with that, but as long as we don’t lose, it’s one of them.

‘It was an entertaining game for the fans I suppose, but we’re disappointed not to keep that winning streak going.’

Milivojevic celebrates his second goal of the afternoon with the Crystal Palace fans

Milivojevic celebrates his second goal of the afternoon with the Crystal Palace fans

Milivojevic celebrates his second goal of the afternoon with the Crystal Palace fans



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'It's a mystery': O'Neill queries how 'phenomenal' Serge Gnabry slipped through Arsenal's net 

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‘It’s a mystery’: Michael O’Neill queries how ‘phenomenal’ Serge Gnabry slipped through Arsenal’s net after Germany hat-trick v Northern Ireland

Michael O’Neill says he is mystified as to why Serge Gnabry did not make more of an impact in English football after watching the Bayern Munich forward bag a hat-trick as Germany beat Northern Ireland 6-1 in Frankfurt.

Gnabry moved on to 13 goals from as many international appearances, looking a world apart from the player who struggled to make an impact at Arsenal early in his career and virtually disappeared on loan at West Brom before being sold to Werder Bremen for a reported five million euros in 2016.

His first goal was the pick of the bunch as he took a touch before swivelling in the box and unleashing a shot high into Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s goal, levelling the scores at 1-1 after Michael Smith gave Northern Ireland a shock early lead in this Euro 2020 qualifier.

Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick for Germany as they thrashed Northern Ireland 6-1

Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick for Germany as they thrashed Northern Ireland 6-1

But Gnabry’s movement, pace and strength caused Northern Ireland’s injury-hit defence problems until he was withdrawn nine minutes from time, leading O’Neill to describe him as ‘unplayable’ on the night.

‘Gnabry’s goal-scoring record is phenomenal,’ said O’Neill, whose side now face a play-off against Bosnia and Herzegovina next March. ‘It’s a mystery to me how English clubs didn’t get more out of him.

‘I’d be surprised if this Germany team doesn’t make a big impact (at Euro 2020).’

This was Gnabry’s second international hat-trick, and came less than two months after his four-goal display during Bayern’s 7-2 demolition of Tottenham in the Champions League.

There were precious few signs of that sort of form during an Arsenal career that yielded only one goal from 18 appearances, but Germany coach Joachim Low said he had long been aware of the 24-year-old’s talent.

‘I’ve always had the highest possible opinion of Gnabry,’ Low said. ‘Right from the start it was obvious to me he would be a fantastically important player.

‘He was always one to pass the ball to, he doesn’t play up front all the time, he lets himself fall back a bit and you can find him anywhere on the pitch and he’s able to play in many different positions.

‘These are prime qualities in any players and also his finishing is technically fantastic.’

Low put Gnabry’s difficulties in England down to injuries, but said the forward’s Arsenal team-mates Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil had been quick to recommend him.

‘When he was at Arsenal he was plagued by injury and all these injuries set him back,’ Low said. ‘But even at the time, around the 2014 World Cup he had always been in my thoughts.

‘He had some very good games with Arsenal and Mertesacker and Ozil would say to me, ‘Look at Gnabry, he’s a fantastic player, he keeps defences very busy’, so we had him in our sights for a long time.’

 



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Tottenham fans demand Jose Mourinho snub after Pochettino sack – ‘I’d rather have Wenger'

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Tottenham fans have told chairman Daniel Levy to avoid hiring Jose Mourinho with the Special One odds on with some bookmakers to replace the Argentine.

Mourinho’s last job was at Manchester United which ended in acrimonious circumstances.

And some Tottenham fans even went as far as to say they would rather have Arsene Wenger in charge.

One said: “I’d Rather Have Wenger Than Mourinho.”

Another added: “Dear God I am hearing people say Mourinho.

“Have they not seen the mess he has made of ALL of his latest management jobs. I’d rather have Wenger than Mourinho!!!”

A third exclaimed: “Imagine if next North London Derby, Mourinho’s Arsenal play Wenger’s Tottenham.”

Tottenham released a statement on Tuesday evening explaining why Pochettino had been sacked.

Levy explained: “We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the Board has taken lightly, nor in haste.

“Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.

“It falls to the Board to make the difficult decisions – this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff – but we do so in the Club’s best interests.

“Mauricio and his coaching staff will always be part of our history. I have the utmost admiration for the manner in which he dealt with the difficult times away from a home ground whilst we built the new stadium and for the warmth and positivity he brought to us.

“I should like to thank him and his coaching staff for all they have contributed. They will always be welcome here.

“We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters.”

Tottenham return to action against West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday (12.30pm).

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Former Chelsea and Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho early favourite to replace sacked Mauricio Pochettino

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Jose Mourinho is the early favourite to become the new Tottenham Hotspur manager. Following the north London club’s surprise announcement this…

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