That Arsenal secured their first win against Liverpool for six years to kick-start their season was by the end largely forgotten amid a plethora of red cards that marred a tempestuous encounter at Highbury.

By the end of the match there were just 19 players left on the pitch and unsurprisingly, one of the three players to be dismissed was Patrick Vieira, who saw red for the second time in just three days and stormed off the pitch in disgust. Vieira, red-carded at Sunderland last Saturday, was sent off for his second bookable offence within the space of three minutes, his fifth red card in the Carling Premiership - only Vinnie Jones has had a worse record than that.

Yet he was hardly alone in the dressing-rooms for Liverpool were reduced to nine men, with the first player to be dismissed being Gary McAllister after 40 minutes on his full debut. That was for a foul on Vieira but Liverpool, who were already trailing by that stage due to Lauren's early strike, found their challenge had became a lost cause when Dietmar Hamann joined him 17 minutes from time.

By the end, after Thierry Henry had doubled Arsenal's advantage, both sets of fans joined in a tumultuous display of anger directed at referee Graham Poll and the result had been almost completely overshadowed.

The dropped Michael Owen finally came on with 20 minutes left only for Carragher to immediately foul Vieira to earn a booking, while the Frenchman's angry remonstrations were curtailed by Gilles Grimandi but still led to a yellow card.

His blood was boiling and just over a minute later, he came flying in with a two-footed tackle on Hamann and while he succeeded in winning possession, he still sent the German flying. That left the match at 10 players each but even that depressing state of affairs did not last long as Hamann was then shown another debatable yellow card for tugging Robert Pires' shirt.