The worrying form of Andrey Arshavin
Our resident Arsenal correspondent – Editor of gunnersphere.com – discusses the Russian’s lacklustre season…
The performance Arsenal put in against Leeds United on Saturday was a mediocre one in general, but no player looked as poor as Andrey Arshavin did.
The way in which he ran towards the touchline in anticipation of a substitution, that was not forthcoming, merely served to encapsulate how even he is quite aware of how out-of-form he is at present.
The once mercurial Russian has not been playing well throughout this season, and the excuses upon which he can draw are somewhat limited. If any player should have started the current campaign on fire, it should have been Arshavin, simply because he had a whole summer of rest.
If one compares him to Samir Nasri who was afforded the same amount of holiday, the differences are stark. Nasri looks fitter than he ever has done, and clearly used his holiday period to improve his game.
Conversely, Arshavin gives every impression of being unfit; an accusation that has been levelled at him since he first arrived at Arsenal. It is permissible to be slightly off the pace in the first six months, but when one has played in England for a year and a half, it just cannot be justified.
Evidently, a sub-standard level of fitness is going to impact on form. The Premier League is famed for being quick and physical, and it is not a coincidence that the players who have worked the hardest on their shape and fitness tend to succeed the most. Since Arshavin does not fall into that category, he has struggled immensely, especially at the Emirates where the opposition are quicker into the tackle and less willing to allow him time on the ball.
However, the Russian international has shown brief glimpses of brilliance this season. The run against Aston Villa capped off with a smart finish showed Arsenal fans what he is truly capable of. He has an extremely high level of technical ability, and his dribbling can be nothing short of mesmeric at times. There are few supporters who cannot recall the wonderful goal he scored against Blackburn which was his first for the club. A mazy dribble between rows of defenders close to the touchline followed by a magnificent finish high into the net – a stunning goal, and one which demonstrates that he does in fact have huge amounts of quality.
Therefore, it is pretty clear that his poor physical shape is making a sizeable impact upon his current form. When he first arrived at the North London club, he was well rested, given the calendar of the Russian football season, and his fresh legs were running against tired ones. Now that the balance has been restored, he is not faring so well. However, the positive of his current plight is that it’s possible to extricate oneself from it. If one does not have the talent to play at a top club, there is very little that can be done about it. Fortunately, for Arshavin, he has the ability.
It’s expected that his form shall not improve between now and the end of the season, but when May comes, it is essential that he works doubly hard to improve the physical aspect of his game.
It can be assumed that the 29-year-old will stay at the club this summer, but should affairs remain the same, it is safe to say that next season will probably be his last at the Emirates.
Is Andrey Arshavin good enough to play for Arsenal? Give us your thoughts!
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