Walcott denies Liverpool in breathless encounter
Theo Walcott drove home a blistering equaliser as Arsenal retrieved a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with Liverpool from a frantic Premier League dust-up at the Emirates Stadium.
Marshalled superbly at the back by the evergreen Jamie Carragher, Liverpool were rewarded for an intelligent counter attacking strategy that worked almost to perfection in the first hour as goals from Luis Suarez (5) and Jordan Henderson (60) earned them a 2-0 lead aided by some slipshod home defending.
But Arsene Wenger’s side showed off all their attacking wares in the final 30 minutes or so as an Olivier Giroud header (64) and Walcott’s strike (67) ensured them of a point that they were well worth after an evening that seemed to spend much of its time raging from end to end.
He scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season here, and has now scored in each of his last four matches in all competitions.
On a more concerning note, Arsenal remain with only one win in five outings in the Premier League since the turn of the year.
Liverpool continue their run of not having beaten any side in the top 10 of Premier League this season, but manager Brendan Rodgers will probably be content with a point that keeps them three points behind Arsenal in seventh place.
Liverpool looked eager at the outset of the second period and were rewarded with a second goal after Vermaelen had escaped conceding a penalty when he seemed to handle in challenging Sturridge.
But Arsenal were also denied their own claim for a penalty when Podolski seemed to be clipped by Andre Wisdom in the visiting box.
The second Liverpool goal came to fruition when Henderson began a hopeful run outside of the Arsenal area. He somehow managed to elude five home players as the ball broke kindly for him in the heart of the box. He could hardly believe his luck in slipping the shot into the gaping net with Szczesny stranded.
Walcott had headed over seconds earlier, but Arsenal picked themselves up quickly to breathe new life into the match when Giroud rose to head a Wilshere free-kick into the net.
Liverpool were reeling when they shed the equaliser moments later. Santi Cazorla fed Giroud, whose lay-off was met by Walcott to lash a low shot into the net that was beyond Reina before he knew it.
Cazorla slammed an effort wide while Reina saved from Giroud as Arsenal pressed for the winner, but it would not come as Giroud agonisingly failed to convert a Podolski cross three minutes from time.
Liverpool could also have snagged the winner three minutes into four added on for stoppages, but Szczesny threw himself across goal to halt the Suarez shot.