When Arsenal signed Andrey Arshavin in the cold snowy January of 2009, few would’ve expected the speed at which he adjusted to the Premiership. The diminutive Russian took to Arsenal like a duck to water. His performance at Anfield where he fired a quadruple efforts at goal and all went in past a bewildered Reina has been heralded by Gooners as the performance of last season.
Arshavin came to prominence during the successful UEFA Cup campaign by Zenit St Petersburg who eventually won the tournament at the City of Manchester. He announced his arrival at the highest stage with 2 virtuoso performance against Sweden and Netherlands. Although he was suspended for the first 2 group games, by virtue of only his showing in the 2 matches was enough to propel him into the UEFA team of the tournament. He did not quite manage to live up to the expectation in the semifinal against the well-organized and superb Spanish side but he has already etch memories into football fans.
Arshavin normally operates in the hole or as a support striker but has started life at Arsenal on either side of the wings. AW certainly has his ways with players and is not the first time that he has experimented with positions of newly signed players. Being nimble on foot and packing a great shot despite the physical appearance, Arshavin began adapting to life at Emirates and its not hard to click with new players if everyone is intellectually high up in footballing terms. Arsenal missed his creative and decisiveness in the Champions League where his precense would definitely made a difference.
This season has seen him being pushed further up-front and been given more freedom to express himself on the pitch. In AW’s new 4-3-3 formation, he is placed on either side of the attacking trio. This, should positively suit the little Russian, however he has not impress me as yet. He has looked lethargic at times, though there are some reports which states that he has been struggling with a minor injury all season. This seems to be a plausible explanation for his actions on the pitch. Fairly anonymous in most of the matches except for for the 2 goals he scored. He hasn’t really exploded on the pitch the same way he did when he first arrived at the club. Perhaps he set the bar too high previously.
His on-field communication with Van Persie seems to be lacking as well. In some matches, I’ve personally observed that they always choose the other option than to pass to each other. And when either one is on the ball and looking to attack, the other would just stand off without getting into space or involve. Is there already bickering within the ranks? Perhaps a certain jealousy from Dutchman seeing that someone new is on the way to upsurp his position among fans. Arrogance on the part of the Russian? Arshavin is also rarely seen to be overly excited whenever celebrating a teammates’ goal. At this stage, all these should not be analyzed to death just yet.
How the season unfolds for the Arshavin in his first full season is going to be intruiging. I’m holding my breath in bated anticiaption of glory.