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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.



  1. Grovesy

    November 3, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Arshavin is a quality player & his goals/assists figures speak for themselves. With Theo back fit, he has genuine competition for his place, which should give fantastic attacking options & the chance to rotate a bit.

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  3. Keeno23

    November 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Sorry, but that video-compilation didn’t prove your case on Arshavin! He was involved in most of the action and some of those “misplaced” passes weren’t all his fault. Noticed Fab was at the end of some passes and considering his hamstring it was quite obvious that it was preventing him from stretchering for the ball! I agree though about Arsh and his end product! In recent matches he has been lost on the wing and he needs to find new ways! But as we are on a good run I believe he will come good this season later on when needed! But given the compilation above, I think criticism is hard! He was willing to work hard and went charging on several occasions! End product is the only worrying thing in my book!

  4. antoine

    November 3, 2010 at 10:17 am

    AA23 is a great player!! he is always willing to try something different and contrary to popular belief he actually does work hard for the team…. his critics really need to lay off him.

  5. mute

    November 3, 2010 at 10:21 am

    arshavin just need 2 find his confdent again..!!

  6. Mick

    November 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I understand the criticism about his commitment at times but about his effectiveness is ridiculous! Most assists in the premier league isn’t a small contribution, the fact is he’s been involved in the majority of our goals this season in the league and the champions league!

  7. Dan

    November 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Looking at that video I think Arshavin had a good game! West Ham just defended well against him. Sometimes his passes don’t come off but he plays the ball so the receiving player doesn’t have to break stride, this means if he plays it just 3-4 inches too far the player will not reach it. These are passes that can make him look sloppy at times but he normally pulls them off, most players do not attempt these passes and either play to feet or into space. I admit he has been slightly less effective in the past couple of weeks but he’s played more minutes than any other arsenal player so could probably just use a rest. In any case his stats aren’t half bad anyway. 12 starts, 5 goals, 6 assists. (this does not include two penalty assists where it is likely the player would have scored but won a penalty instead) So he is more or less scoring or creating 1 goal per game. This is a hell of a record for a player that is supposedly playing badly!

  8. Dane

    November 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Arshavin has the potential to be a great player but his lack of work ethic and laziness really detracts from the team. At times it can be like playing with 10 men. He picks out lazy passes and doesn’t work hard for the team. All Arsenal fans live off one game. One game a season isn’t good enough Andriy. He claims himself he is over weight. Maybe if he worked a little bit harder he would shift some it !

  9. jackie wilshere

    November 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    no i agree
    he’s got amazing tricks and skills but his donkey attitude is clearly there for everyone to see.
    i won’t lambast him over some misplaced passes, i think thats a bit much.
    but i agree with this article 100%

  10. Homer

    November 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm


    AA single handedly defanged a counter attack or two during Mancity game by, wait for it … tracking back. What, your “consideration” of a player go more than one game? Come on.

    Agree, that AA should do more of it. But also think about the man came from a different league, different country, different language and yet adapted relatively quickly to the prem.

    Now go find something meaningful to write about – apart from slagging off players who do not deserve it.

  11. Freeboy

    November 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Arshavin has the potential to be a great player , Arshavin is the main man who win match for Arsenal now with his pass

  12. Ugur

    November 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Arshavin rocks, but needs to be a working bee instead of a lazy bee

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