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Andrey Arshavin
Minutes played : 70 minutes
Interceptions : 0
Tackles : Won-0, Lost-1
Clearances : Successful-0, Unsuccessful-1
Blocks : 0

Tomas Rosicky
Minutes played : 20 minutes
Interceptions : 2
Tackles : Won-2, Lost-0
Clearances : Successful-0, Unsuccessful-0
Blocks : 0

That was the statistics from the last Premier League game for Arsenal. It was our 2-1 win at home against Birmingham. Why did I highlight this? After 10 minutes of the Shakhtar Donetsk game, I realise suddenly that we are a much balanced side when Rosicky is playing instead of Arshavin.

There is no denying that Arshavin do bring a lot to the table. But unlike others, my opinion of him is not influenced by the assists or goals that he contributes to the side. Those moments of magic are too few and far in between for my liking. Arshavin is very very lazy and seldom gets stuck in.

More often than not, he sticks to the sidelines and does not come in-field when play is evolving on the other flank. When the ball do come to his side, he is slow to react and that allows opposition to close up very quickly onto him. More often than not, it is a pass back to Gael Clichy or a pass to the middle to one of our midfielders. We don’t see him driving on or dribbling anymore.

However, the most frightening part of his game is the lack of covering for Clichy. It allows teams to double team on our left back and the form that Clichy is in at the moment, he needs all the help he can get. That is where Rosicky comes in.

Even in the short 20 minutes that he played, he did more defensively than Arshavin did in a little over 3x that amount of time. Take Shakhtar’s game on Tuesday, Rosicky was sliding in to pin the opposition defender and prevent him from clearing the ball. One just after kick-off and one towards the end of the game. He fights for the every single ball and pressures opposition.

That being said, Rosicky has also been influential in the earlier games and provided the attacking impetus that Arshavin sometimes delivers. While that consistency remains to be had, it is not to say that Arsenal only need Rosicky when we defend. Making runs is very important, even though you don’t the ball. It helps to move defenders out of position and allows other to move forward. Again, this is something that the Czech captain does and something which the Russian captain do not.

With the form that our left back is in, I feel that Arsenal need Rosicky’s graft more than we need the glimpses of Arshavin geniuses. Manchester City away is a tough game and Rosicky could be very useful to help Clichy or Gibbs defend against Adam Johnson or David Silva.

Anyways, those are just my thoughts and I am not the Arsenal manager. That job is for Arsene Wenger to do.

Till tomorrow.