Wow! Just wow! Andrey Arshavin grabbed all the headlines with a single handed display of goal scoring ability. All four of Arsenal's goals came from the Russian who completely terrorised Liverpool all evening.
Arsenal started without Almunia, instead Fabianski who produced several fine stops before being beaten four times. Perhaps not his best game in an Arsenal shirt, but without him those four Arshavin goals would have been scant consolation in a whitewash. Sadly his handling was at fault, the defending was at times quite woeful, allowing Liverpool to strike four times, their last in injury time at the end of the game to tie things at 4-4.
The match was dedicated to former Gunner and Red, Ray Kennedy who now suffers from Parkinsons. And what a game the teams served up in his honour, he would have been truly proud!
Liverpool had by far the better of the opening, Fabianski was our saviour on a number of occasions before the Arshavin bandwagon rolled into Merseyside. Fabregas cleverly won the ball on the edge of the Liverpool area, passed to Nasri, then surged to the line to receive the pass. He saw Arshavin unmarked near the penalty spot, threaded a delightful ball back, and Arshavin crashed the ball in off the underside of the bar. Arsenal were to take the one goal lead into the break, perhaps undeserved, but a lead none the less.
The second half was just end to end stuff, Torres breaking through within the first three minutes to level things before another defensive error allowed Benyoun to give Liverpool a lead. Back came Arsenal and Arshavin. Almost a route one goal, Fabianski with the long clearance, collected by Liverpool, but Arshavin quickly robbed the defender, took a touch and then unleashed a thunderbolt from the right boot from 20 or so yards out. Arsenal had the front foot, and screamed forward. Great build up play, Arshavin again finding himself completely unmarked on the penalty spot, the ball fell to his feet, and the Russian had his hattrick. The lead lasted only a couple of minutes before Torres levelled things again. But Arshavin wasn't going to let it lie, he was the driving force. Walcott broke, his pace beating the backtracking Liverpool defenders, Arshavin was screaming through the middle like a steam train and in the very last minute of normal time received the ball close to the edge of the box before unleashing a left foot thunderbolt. 4-3 to The Arsenal into injury time, The Gunners could not hold on. Benyoun completed the scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time, a pulsating and breath-taking 4-4 draw away at Liverpool. Arsenal still remain unbeaten in The Premiership against the teams above them.
Middlesbrough are next, can Arshavin run the show at Ashburton Grove again? On evidence of this game, a simply brilliant buy, just a shame he is cup-tied for The Champions League.
4-4, the unbeaten record goes on. But for how much longer with all the defensive frailties?