Arshavin: All He Needs Is Love

Posted on December 30, 2011 by

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With The African Cup of Nations just around the corner, many domestic fringe players are presented with the opportunity to impress their manager and supporters whilst others are away. Andrei Arshavin will be hoping to do just that.

If I were to say that Andrei Arshavin will be replacing Gervinho for the next couple of months as the left prong of Arsenal’s attacking three, many Arsenal fans would object. In fact they’d do more than object. They’d object loudly. Just as thousands do at The Emirates when the Premiership’s little Russian is brought off the bench as an impact substitution. That’s his role these days.

People would in present times prefer ‘The Ox’ to come off the bench. Maybe even Ryo Miyaichi, a young Japanese winger who had a successful loan spell with Feyenoord in Holland last year. Some people would prefer loanee Yossi Benayoun to play. The experienced Israeli has been in form of late and has scored some crucial goals, yet he still probably wears a Chelsea shirt to bed, hoping that one day he’ll break in to AVB’s midfield. Perhaps that was a little harsh. Benayoun is a top class professional, but he’s not Arsenal. And that’s what the fans want.

Anyway, I’m sure that by now many Arsenal fans will have their heart set on an archaic 4-4-2 system. That’s because Henry is back, and not just as a statue outside The Emirates. Can you imagine Van Persie behind Henry as a front two? Surely it’s any Gooner’s dream. But, though it might have worked one day, in today’s Premiership a 4-4-2 is suicide. That’s a different story altogether.

We’ve gone off topic. Even I have forgotten what I was writing about in the midst of fantasies of RVP and Henry up top, and of course Benayoun wearing his Chelsea shirt to bed. In truth though, I believe everyone’s forgotten about Arshavin. People have forgotten about his touch of class. That perfectly weighted touch and pass that no Arsenal winger has had since Pires. People saw what he did to Liverpool once and that he hasn’t done anything like it since. But it’s not that simple. Let’s not be morons and forget about a dormant Russian.

That’s all Arshavin is, dormant. His ability is still there. I believe and I’m sure Arsene Wenger believes that he has strong mental strength. He can recapture his old form. He can be a great player once more. All he needs is game time and the support of his fans and team mates. It’s that simple. He’s not the spiky character that he’s portrayed as. His revealing website proves that. And he’s not lazy because he doesn’t track back like Dirk Kuyt.

Last season Arshavin managed 17 assists and 10 goals. His key pass ratio in games is always overlooked. He’s not a work horse of a player. Arshavin’s the player you want when you need that bit of class. The player you want the ball to reach at The Emirates when you’re drawing 1-1 to Barcelona. The player who will curl it, place it with such composure into Valdes’ bottom left-hand corner. That was only a year ago.

With a short stint of African Cup of Nation matches just around the corner, now is undoubtedly one of Arshavin’s last opportunities to impress both manager and fans. Don’t be sure to write this little Russian off.

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Posted in: Europe, Football