There have been many players in Premier League history who have become a thorn in the side of other teams. Luis Suarez's 11 goals in four games against Norwich City is a good example of this, as is Carlton Cole, who has hit seven in six against Fulham.
Some players cannot stop scoring against particular teams and in the latter part of the last decade, Andrey Arshavin had exactly this 'problem' against Liverpool. In the previous meeting between the two sides in April 2009, Arshavin scored all four of Arsenal's goals in an exhilarating 4-4 draw. On this day a few months later, he turned matchwinner.
Before the game kicked off, the Gunners were fifth in the Premier League and although this was the first of their two games in hand they were in danger of losing touch with Chelsea at the top, who at this point were nine points clear. Arsene Wenger insisted that his side were still in the title race, but Anfield has never been an easy place to go to get an important three points.
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The hosts had been boosted by the return of Fernando Torres from injury. One or the other of him and Steven Gerrard had been missing since the start of October, but now Rafael Benitez was able to field something resembling a full-strength team. Initially, it seemed to be working.
Torres could have marked his starting return to the side with a goal as early as 11 minutes, when Gerrard threaded him in with a pass. However, the Spaniard's touch was a little rusty after injury and he allowed Manuel Almunia to come out to make a good save. Liverpool then arguably should have had a penalty, but William Gallas got away with a clumsy tackle on Gerrard.
However, the roars of dismay turned to cheers just as it looked as though the Reds were not going to get the goal that their first-half display deserved. This time Almunia showed his bad side as he failed to deal with a cross and the ball fell to Dirk Kuyt, who was able to tap in from close range. It left Wenger with a tough team talk at the break.
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The reports after the game suggested that he had got angry. That is not a trait that has often been mentioned of the calm and collected Wenger, but after his side's showing it was justified. The response to his team talk was immediate; just five minutes after the restart Arsenal were level.
It was not a goal for those pleased by aesthetics. Samir Nasri's initial cross was not posing much of a threat, but when it took a touch off Jamie Carragher, suddenly Glen Johnson found himself in play. He was going the other way and, trying to adjust to clear it, succeeding only in turning it past Pepe Reina. Arsenal had a slice of luck and now were looking to press on.
Fortunately for them, they had Arshavin on the field. Although he had not yet hit the heights of his previous appearance at Anfield, he did eight minutes after the equaliser. He controlled the ball into his feet superbly and with his second touch rifled a high finish past Reina for what proved to be a worthy winner. Arsenal were hardly troubled afterwards and held on for a big three points.
Suddenly the Gunners were six behind Chelsea with a game still to play. Things were looking much more rosy and it was thanks once more to Arshavin, who now had five goals in two games at Anfield.