Liverpool (4) – (4) Arsenal
Arshavin (36′, 67′, 70′, 90′)
Anfield Stadium, Liverpool
What a crazy game.
And what shambolic defending, from both teams.
The bottom line was that tonight too many players (possibly because of an FA Cup Semi Final hangover) weren’t in the game at all. Denilson was particularly dreadful, and Cesc Fabregas wasn’t in the game at all. Bendtner was lazy and couldn’t even be bothered doing the simple things such as closing down or making runs, and then we have our defending.
And somehow we drew the game 4-4.
On reflection, we didn’t deserve anything from tonight’s game. We were very sloppy at the back, we were completely beaten in midfield and upfront Bendtner was toothless. So how the hell did we score 4 at Anfield?
Two reasons; Fabianski and Arshavin.
Fabianski had to be called upon so many times it was ridiculous. Liverpool dominated throughout and he really kept us in the match. And Arshavin had 4 attempts, 4 of which were on target and he scored 4 goals.
This guy is world class. All 4 goals were superbly taken and he was our best player by a country mile. I cannot tell you how good this player is – without him we would have left Anfield with what we deserved – absolutely nothing.
Make no mistake, tonight was a smash and grab in every sense of the word.
So you wonder why the hell Arshavin didn’t start against Chelsea at the weekend. The mind truly boggles – what was Arsene Wenger thinking? This guy has been our best player since he arrived and not to play him in the FA Cup was a travesty – I still can’t get over it. If he can score 4 stunning goals against Liverpool at Anfield then what could he have done against Chelsea?
Arshavin didn’t just embarrass Liverpool tonight, he embarrassed Arsene Wenger.
Because all he needs is one chance. He proved that tonight.
Liverpool’s first equalising goal came from a shocking ‘clearance’ from the usually solid Sagna, who looked a bit jaded after only just coming back from injury. Kuyt had two chances to cross the ball and he finally found Torres for a well taken header.
The second was from a deep cross which somehow made it over the line, and the third wasn’t great either. Torres did well to make the space and score but it was far too easy, and once again Fabianski was exposed.
And the fourth was in injury time.
As a defensive unit we weren’t comfortable all night. Liverpool were on top for the majority of the match and throughout the game made chance after chance. It was almost the Fabianski show and he had to make a lot of decent saves to keep us in it.
But against the run of play Arsenal amazingly managed to take the lead. Fabregas did well to nick the ball away from Mascherano on the edge of the box and find Nasri. Then the little Frenchman played a brilliant reverse pass back to Cesc who squared for that man Arshavin to smash the ball into the net.
We lead 1-0 at half-time and collapsed in the second. Silvestre seemed hell bent on playing short back passes which put us under pressure time and time again. Toure was trying to do what he could but he couldn’t cover for the hopeless Silvestre, who in all honesty is past it and I am really worried about playing Manchester United twice with him in the side because it will be a massacre.
But after Liverpool took the lead Arshavin popped up again.
Arbeloa got dispossessed by the little Russian and he ran towards goal before smashing the ball into the side netting for 2-2. Simply a stunning strike by anyone’s standards and amazingly we were back in it.
The third was terrible defending from Liverpool as Aurelio decided to do a Sagna and give the ball straight back to the opposition from a cross. Unfortunately for him it fell to Arshavin who duly smashed the ball under Reina for his hattrick!
Don’t be mistaken, no-one else in the Arsenal side would have scored that goal.
And to really put the cat among the pigeons his fourth was another sumptuous strike. Walcott went on one of his slalom runs after a Liverpool corner and played in Arshavin, who smashed the ball passed Reina with his left foot.
4 attempts and all of them went in.
This guy is unbelievable. Two goals with his left foot, and two with his right.
If we had him available to play in Europe I’d be confident of going all the way. Because Bendtner and Adebayor aren’t good enough or clever enough to out fox defenders like Vidic and Ferdinand.
Lukasz Fabianski – 8/10
Put the nightmare of the Chelsea game behind him, despite conceding 4 goals. He made some excellent saves throughout the Liverpool barrage and you couldn’t fault him for any of the goals, which were all caused by shocking defending. Kept us in the game because you wouldn’t have argued if Liverpool scored 7 or 8.
Kieran Gibbs – 8/10
One of our better players despite only being the youngest in the side. Coped well with Kuyt for the most part but wasn’t helped by Silvestre’s antics at the back. Very energetic and always wanted to attack although he was caught out defensively a few times during the first half.
Kolo Toure – 7/10
Made some excellent tackles and tried to keep the defence together the best he could. Torres caused him problems all night but managed to keep him down to 2 goals when it could have been more.
Mikael Silvestre – 4/10
Truly terrible. Slow in body and mind, Silvestre is sadly past it. Struggled at the weekend and struggled tonight – 2 games in 4 days is probably asking too much but the number of lazy passes (both to the goalkeeper and other team-mates) was unbelievable. He was always in trouble once a Liverpool player was running towards him and has Fabianski to thank for keeping it down to only 4 goals.
Bacary Sagna – 6/10
The usually reliable Sagna looked a shadow of himself tonight, making several mistakes. But you can put that down to a return from injury because he hasn’t played that badly since he’s worn the Arsenal shirt.
Samir Nasri – 6/10
Floated in and out of the game but ineffective overall. Had a tidy game but hardly influential.
Cesc Fabregas – 6/10
Well he has kept his unbeaten league run going as Arsenal captain but bar the assist for the first goal was pretty anonymous. Moved the ball well but couldn’t get control of the game which was disappointing considering Steven Gerrard wasn’t even playing.
Alex Song – 6/10
Did okay, and was much better than Denilson. Made some descent tackles and passes but at times wasn’t interested in helping the team defend. Too many times Liverpool players had shots from distance and he would just stand there and watch instead of closing down.
Denilson – 4/10
I’m not sure if he’s tired or in his comfort zone but he was terrible tonight and contributed nothing. Actually, that’s not strictly correct since he did manage to give the ball away several times in dangerous positions. His ‘pass’ to Torres after 4 minutes to set up a shot sums up his performance.
Andrey Arshavin – 10/10
He didn’t get much of the ball throughout the game from his team-mates but that didn’t matter. He took all of his goals superbly and showed the quality he is, which is world class. He’s been our best player for the last 4 months now and it was a shame his team-mates didn’t show the same desire tonight, because despite playing badly overall we could have even won the game because of this guys brilliance. It is not an exaggeration to say he carried us tonight.
Nicklas Bendtner – 6/10
Pretty lethargic and like most of his team-mates didn’t seem bothered. For a player who is supposed to be hungry and fighting for a first team place he didn’t even attempt to close down defenders or make runs for his midfield which is something you have to do if you’re the lone striker.