Soccer

Roy Hodgson: Arsenal’s second goal should have been disallowed for handball

Roy Hodgson felt that Arsenal’s second goal should have been disallowed for handball in Crystal Palace’s 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park, as he expressed pride in how his side came from behind to stop the opposition’s winning run.

Alexandre Lacazette seemed to get a hand on the ball at a 56th-minute corner to divert it into the path of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to put Arsenal 2-1 up.

“I think so, absolutely,” Hodgson said when asked whether he felt it was a handball. “Especially when, from my position on the bench, our players were complaining about the handball involved. I can’t say I’ve seen it, but I have now. Most people would feel sympathy for us because it wasn’t exactly a touch of the hand, but one which helped the ball to the player who scored. Tremendous that the players came back from that. It’s not easy having led at the interval and then find ourselves trailing 2-1 … to find ourselves behind, but come back to force an equaliser, the players deserve a lot of praise.

“Two good pieces of play in open play which led to Arsenal being forced to commit a foul in the penalty area. They were very disciplined otherwise. For the two goals, the amount of possession we had in the final third, the amount of penalty areas, two goals is fairly scant reward.

“I’ve got to say I thought we were playing against a team packed with top quality players, who had just won 11 games on the bounce, so to keep all of their players of note as quiet as we did … The one we didn’t was [Granit] Xhaka with his bullet of a free-kick, but our offensive players were more noticeable today than Arsenal’s, and that’s great credit to my team.”

Hodgson meanwhile praised Luka Milivojevic for the character he showed in scoring two penalties, after missing one against Everton last week.

“That’s all credit to him. That’s an individual thing. To step up once again having missed a decisive penalty, which cost us points probably at Everton, to step up again in two important situations was great credit to Luka Milivojevic. It’s not just about technique in those situations. It’s a question of mental strength. You need players with that mental strength to step up.”

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