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Arshavin: Some Wet Gunpowder

Andrei Arshavin has been below par for some time now and it is imperative that he prep up his act. Else he may even find himself on the bench.

arsenals andrey arshavin

Written by Basil James.

He was the man to save the club from dire distress. He was the little magician, who could provide you quick fix solutions from the cuffs of his sleeves to make everything hunky-dunky. He was the man who warmed Gooner hearts during a particularly cold winter a few years ago, as he made his first moves at the Emirates stadium. The man is Andrei Arshavin.

Andrei Arshavin remains one of the most skillful and artistic players in the Arsenal squad, a player who can change games with pure magic. Unfortunately, that ingredient is exactly what has been missing from the Russian’s game in recent times. An aura of ineffectiveness seems to hang over him, a tendency to switch off and wander into some other world whilst ten other team mates try to make something happen on the green.

Andrei Arshavin started of with a bang upon his arrival at the Emirates, scoring a wonder goal against Blackburn, followed by an awesome foursome against Liverpool at Anfield, a performance that is sure to go down in Premier League history as one of the most remarkable. However, after that fantastic start, Arshavin has seemed to fade away, losing effectiveness at times. Critics and fans alike have started to look askance at the Russian’s performances as Arshavin’s contributions in terms of goals and assists.

More frustratingly, it is Arshavin’s unwillingness to track back and help out in defence that has been irking critics, fans and even the team management. Arshavin often appears clueless on the field when Arsenal does not have possession and appears to have spaced out, not all involved in the proceedings. Some critics have gone as far as to call him lazy and even fat. Though I do not subscribe to such extreme views, Arshavin certainly needs to pep up his act, lest he finds himself on the Gunners bench.

Refreshingly, Arshavin is one of the more honest players around. He readily admits the fact that he is not exactly in the prime of his form and voices the popular opinion that he needs to improve. As of now, Arshavin is one of the players whose names are put instantaneously on the team sheet, provided he can drag himself out on to the field. Arshavin needs to reciprocate the faith shown in him by the team and fans and start displaying some of that electric stuff with which he gained entry into the hearts of Gooner fans long ago.

Arshavin has the skill and the magic touch that are found in few players- he is comparable to Messi or Ronaldo in the little gigs and tricks he is capable of in the field, but often he finds himself kicking the leaves and discovering that the magic is lost. A moment of pure brilliance and skill is capable of turning a match, especially against top class opposition, such as Chelsea or United. It is for that very reason that Arsenal needs Arshavin on the field. However, his performances against such sides have been below par, as he is often closed down fast by the opposing defence.

In recent matches, Arshavin has been found guilty of misplacing passes and shots, even from the more simpler positions. Watch the following video which is a compilation of his performance against West Ham in Arsenal’s latest league game.

Arshavin was often found wanting in commitment and spirit in his match, often losing the ball and misplacing passes. Though no one doubts his skills and talent, the willingness to fight for every inch of grass and to track back and help out the defence out of a difficult spot are qualities to be desired. Sadly, Arshavin has kept these in the freezer for now.

Arshavin has been played on the left side of the field in the majority of the matches. He has been deployed as a left winger cum striker who can score as well as provide valuable assists. It is common knowledge that Arshavin would love to play in the hole behind our main striker (Chamakh or van Perise) but at the moment Nasri or Rosicky are the favourites for the spot. These men are playing well, tracking back to help the defence and giving all they have got on the field for 90 minutes. That commitment has been lacking from Arshavin. May be, if he puts in that added element in every game, he will have more space and opportunity to work some badly needed magic on the pitch.

Arseanl will badly need Arshavin to fire on all cylinders for the rest of the season. We are already playing catch up with Chelsea and the Gunners will need some inspirational stuff from the Russian master if we are to finally top the league this season.

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