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Andrei Arshavin's 5 Best Goals in an Arsenal Shirt

Daniel ThomasContributor IFebruary 25, 2012

Andrei Arshavin's 5 Best Goals in an Arsenal Shirt

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    So, the diminutive Russian is a Gooner no more. 

    Despite only being an Arsenal player for three years, Arshavin certainly left his mark on the club. He provided more than a few moments of world-class quality, which will live long in the memory of Arsenal fans around the world.

    But what where his five best goals in an Arsenal shirt? 

    You can watch them all after the jump. 

Arsenal vs. Blackburn, March 2009

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    Arshavin had joined Arsenal in the last moments of the January 2009 transfer window, after negotiations that could be described as "protracted," to put it mildly.

    As the Russian season actually runs over the summer, rather than August to May, Arshavin was still in preseason mode when he joined the Gunners and looked off the pace in his first few games at the club.

    Yet, he slowly played himself into form and finally showed his explosive skills in a game against Blackburn in March.

    While the first Arsenal goal in that game was officially deemed an own goal, it was largely due to Arshavin pressuring the Blackburn defender Ooijer into making a mistake.

    Yet, Arsenal's second goal was pure Arshavin.

    Receiving a through-ball from Denilson, Arshavin beat a defender and was almost level with the goal line as he entered the six-yard box. 

    Instead of squaring the ball, he hammered a curling shot past Paul Robinson from a seemingly impossible angle, sending the Emirates crowd wild. 

    It was a brilliant moment, part of a 4-0 win which would help Arsenal secure Champions League football that season.

Arsenal vs. Manchester United, August 2009

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    During the summer transfer window of 2009, Manchester United had lost the services of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid

    With Arshavin in red-hot form, speculation was rife that the Russian would replace Ronaldo as the Premier League's biggest star. 

    Arsenal had got off to a blinding start in the 2009-10 season, hammering Everton and Portsmouth in the league and easing past Celtic to ensure their qualification for the group stages of the Champions League.

    But the first real test of the season came at Old Trafford in late August.

    After a tight first half, Arsenal were denied what should have been a certain penalty after Darren Fletcher clearly fouled Arshavin. 

    Yet, just moments later, Arshavin picked up the ball about 30 yards from goal. He had enough time and space to turn, line up a shot and smash the ball into the net with the smallest of back lifts. United keeper Ben Foster got two hands to the ball but couldn't keep it out, such was the power of the shot. 

    Arsenal would go on to self-destruct in the second half, with Manuel Almunia giving away a needless penalty, and Abou Diaby heading the ball, unopposed, into his own net to give United the win.

    But Arshavin's goal was the highlight of the game and one of the finest of his career.

Arsenal vs. Liverpool, December 2009

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    Returning to the scene of his four-goal triumph in late 2009, Arshavin again struck gold against Liverpool

    Arsenal had been woeful in the first half of the match, so much so that Arsene Wenger had launched into a rare half-time tirade at his players, questioning if they knew what it meant to represent Arsenal Football Club.

    Apparently galvanized by Wenger's words, Arsenal forced an equalizer almost immediately after the break when Glen Johnson put the ball into his own goal. 

    But it would be a moment of individual brilliance by Arshavin that would seal the win for Arsenal just a few minutes later. 

    After some scrappy defending by Liverpool, the ball fell to Arshavin just inside the penalty area. He knocked it past his marker, Glen Johnson, with his first touch, and then slammed the ball off the post and into the net with his second. 

    He performed the entire maneuver quickly that Pepe Reina remained rooted to his spot, with the ball flying past him before he could respond. 

    Unlike the game earlier in the year, Arshavin's goal at Anfield would be enough on this occasion to secure the three points for Arsenal. 

Arsenal vs. Liverpool, April 2009

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    On an unforgettable night in Liverpool, four goals from Arshavin weren't enough to secure three points for Arsenal. 

    Poor defending from Arsenal ensured that Arshavin's efforts would not be fully rewarded, as an epic match saw the two teams share the points. 

    Of the four he scored, either his second or his fourth was the best of the game. 

    For his second, Arsenal were trailing 2-1 when Fabianski punted a goal-kick up field. Arshavin won the header, but no Arsenal player picked up the ball. Undeterred, he robbed Arbeloa of the ball and curled a shot from the outside of the area into the net. 

    The curl on the ball was phenomenal, taking it past Reina's outstretched hand and into the side-netting of the far post. 

    But Arshavin's fourth was possibly even better.

    Liverpool were desperate for a win to keep their title hopes alive and had piled men forward for a late corner. Fabianski unconvincingly punched the ball clear, and it fortuitously fell into the path of Theo Walcott who sped up the field. 

    Arshavin kept pace with Walcott, received the ball, and fired the ball past Reina in a delirious moment of utter footballing brilliance. 

    The Russian ran to the Arsenal fans, holding up four of his fingers, as shocked as anyone at what had just happened. A brilliant goal from a player who seemed to have the world at his feet.

Arsenal vs. Barcelona, February 2011

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    There are few games in Arsene Wenger's reign as Arsenal manager which come close to the victory over Barcelona in February of 2011. 

    Arsenal had come into the game as firm underdogs. An under-strength Arsenal side had been taken apart by Barcelona in the 2010 Champions League, and the Gunners were desperate for revenge. 

    But wanting revenge and taking revenge against Barcelona are two quite different things. 

    The Catalan team dominated the first-half of the match, and were unlucky to only be one goal up at halftime. 

    Arsenal fought their way back into the game, and Arshavin immediately made an impact after he came on as a substitute in the 68th minute. He was involved in the build-up to van Persie's 78th minute equalizer, which set up a frantic last 10 minutes.

    From a Barcelona corner, Arsenal calmly passed the ball out of danger. Fabregas received it, swivelled and sent a delicious through-ball to Samir Nasri.

    Nasri received the ball, drove into the area and waited for support. Looking up, he saw Arshavin and passed the ball across the box. 

    Arshavin hit the ball the first time, curling it away from Valdes and into the net. 

    Cue utter delirium. 

    Arshavin ran to the fans, lifting his shirt over his head to reveal another t-shirt with a picture of himself on it. 

    The goal highlighted many of the features by which Arsenal fans will remember Arshavin: his individual skill, his eye for goal in the biggest of games, and, last but not least, his wonderful eccentricity. 

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