7 players who single-handedly destroyed the opposition in a match
Every once in a while, one footballer rises above the rest to put in a performance that resonates through the ages. Although it takes 11 players to form a team, there have been instances when one player made all the difference.
These players set fire to the pitch and raised the roof of the stadium before the final whistle was blown. Their name was sung with pride and gusto as managers also joined in the applause. We look back at 7 such players who destroyed the opposition in recent years.
7) Andrei Arshavin vs Liverpool
Confirmed as an Arsenal signing almost 24 hours after the 2009 January transfer window had closed (the deadline was extended after adverse weather conditions in England had grounded flights), Arshavin had an instant impact in the side as the Gunners looked more potent in attack.
But it was in April when he cemented his place in Arsenal folklore with a performance that still stings Liverpool fans to this day. In that one night, Arshavin scored all goals for Arsenal and accomplished a feat no visiting player had achieved in 63 years – score four times against the Reds at Anfield. The diminutive Russian striker couldn’t believe he’d scored a hat-trick, let alone four – the celebrations after the third and fourth goals tell us as much.
“Liverpool players are collapsed all over the pitch; they cannot believe it! They are shell shocked!”
It would have been one of the greatest results in Premier League history had his team not let him down and allowed Yossi Benayoun to score an equaliser in stoppage time to make it 4-4. However, it effectively extinguished Liverpool’s hopes in the title race.