Arshavin’s trip to Carrow Road in midweek proved to be the nadir of his time as an Arsenal player, a first outing for the reserves despite bagging two goals is a reminder if anyone needed one of just how far his star has fallen. Joining in 2008 as a beacon of hope for Arsenal who much like they are at the moment were struggling to secure a Champions League berth, he arrived and almost singlehandedly dragged the Gunners across the finish line with a string of virtuoso displays and goal of the season contenders. He was a man brimming with confidence, every touch assured and every pass measured to perfection.
He was the player in which Arsene Wenger decided to break the Arsenal transfer record for, the player of his generation in Russia who spearheaded his country’s wonderful Euro 2008 campaign with impudent skill. His no show against Spain in the quarter finals where he looked out of sorts physically was duly noted by Wenger at the time who acknowledged his mercurial talent but claimed the playmaker was in no way fit enough to compete in a league like the Premier league. It’s an observation which has probably turned out to be even more accurate than Wenger initially imagined with Arshavin tailing off badly over the past couple of seasons with premier league start figures going from 100% in his first campaign to 42% this.
With injuries at Arsenal almost certain to play a part from now until May is now really the time to be cutting down on senior players?
His introduction against Manchester United prompted what sounded like the majority of the stadium to voice their displeasure; a distinct lack of effort is what gets most people’s goat as stray passes and wild finishing can be forgiven and put down to confidence but a lack of fight for the cause makes for an almost irreparable relationship. Arshavin at Arsenal worked for a brief but beautiful period and it’s doubtful that many goners would say they regretted the signing even now, moments like the four goal salvo at Anfield is what being a football fan is all about.
Despite all of this loaning him to Zenit at this stage of the season is just crazy. Reports that Zenit have offered to pay his wages and pay Arsenal an upfront sum of £1 million, the sweetener which apparently swayed things for the Russians makes little sense. Are Walcott, Park, Chamakh and Benayoun all things considered really better options? Based on talent alone Arshavin remains right up there in the Arsenal squad, a player with his undoubted ability can still make a difference when Walcott’s bumbling hit and hope runs aren’t quite cutting the mustard.
Arsenal’s last win came as a result of Arshavin producing something out of nothing and it’s this very quality which can sometimes make all the difference, you either have it or you don’t and the majority of attacking players at Arsenal most certainly don’t. With injuries at Arsenal almost certain to play a part from now until May is now really the time to be cutting down on senior players?
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