“Fabregas to Nasri, Can he go all the way here, It is still Nasri. Looks for Arshavinnnnnnnnnnn… Wonderful play from Arsenal”
Martin Tyler’s legendary voice still rings in the ears of every Gooner and everytime you see that video you get goose bumps.
Neither the then Captain nor the man who created that assist is at the Emirates now. Their departure stories have been well documented. The Finisher’s story though is a bit curious.
16th February 2011 was the date Andrey Arshavin scored that famous goal and which remains the Russian’s last Champions League Goal. Someone who scored a goal of that significance against a team of that class in a competition of that importance, you would have expected Arshavin’s career to have sky-rocketed and moving in only one direction.
Yet nearly 19 months later, Arshavin finds himself in a situation which only he could explain better. Arshavin’s name figured in the 18 man squad to face Olympiacos last night and not to many people’s surprise ended up being an unused substitute. What happened in the 19 months is well known to many. There have been a huge outcry over his reluctance to be active in helping the full-backs and reports of the Russian’s laziness when he is not in possession, making some wasteful passes etc. Arshavin’s strong supporters have hit back saying he hasn’t been used properly, hasn’t been given chances, has been played out-of-position etc.
The Russian though remains quite contented (or it seems he is) at his lack of playing time. The reason why I say so is Arshavin had some offers to actually prove his credentials back. He quite clearly rejected every single offer that was made. Teams in his homeland were ready and a couple of managers have made it clear that he preferred to stay. Again theories have been circulated about this. People say he wants to prove himself at Arsenal, others say he earns quite well and doesn’t want to miss out on this money, others say he wants his children to earn British citizenship etc.
One thing absolutely certain is Andrey isn’t someone who stays just because of money. You can read this very interesting interview where he speaks about many things incl. not having a 12-room mansion and his family and more. It has been translated so you have to interpret more yourself than taking it on the face-value. Interesting read, that one.
Coming back to Arshavin’s career ending at Arsenal early, it could be clearly seen that Arshavin is not even an impact substitute anymore. The Manager clearly prefers the likes of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and the rest to come in at 75 minutes and create something. If you remember correctly Arshavin has been named in the bench after a long long time. This was only because of the injury to Abou Diaby which created a place in the bench. Now as it stands, of the 27 players in the official roster Arshavin is not considered in the eighteen.
Now to complicate matters (or to make it simple) the return from injury of Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky will further push Arshavin down and unless the sun decides to rise in the Western direction, Andrey Arshavin can forget making it to the bench, if not a place in the starting eleven. The only real adventure will be the Capital One Cup games – The FA Cup starts in January – where he can try to impress. He has impressed many with his exploits against Coventry City only to find himself snubbed again. So Arshavin by now would have understood that his career, unless he decides to move on, will be in danger of an early finish or a stint in lower league like China or the middle east.
Another important factor is his position with the Russian National team. Arshavin tweeted before the Ivory Coast game (which was the first after the Euro debacle):
which roughly translated means
“Dear Fans, today marks a new beginning in the history of the Russian National Team. We will play in a manner that will please you and we will be united – Andrey.”
One could see that he was pretty determined to help Russia move forward and in one of the interviews made it very clear that he wants to play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
In the Ivory Coast game later that day, Arshavin, who was supposed to lead the side found himself on the bench. He eventually came on in the second half to massive boos from the Russian fans. He didn’t take the captain’s armband and was booed everytime he touched the ball.
Russia’s new coach Fabio Capello, after the game, said he was surprised by the reaction. But days later, when Russia’s squad for the World Cup Qualifiers was announced, Andrey Arshavin wasn’t named in the 24-man list. He hasn’t played since and has been asked by the coach Capello to play regularly to be in contention.
Arsene Wenger promised after the Coventry City match that Arshavin will be considered but the Russian still is out of first team action. Though Wenger has said that Arshavin is 100% committed and that he is a 200% professional and that he is unhappy at not getting games, there are no positive signs that Arshavin will play in the Premier League again.
All this, means that Andrey Arshavin’s career at Arsenal is two or three Capital one Cup games more. It is very difficult to see him at Arsenal Football Club on February 1, 2013, nearly two years after that famous goal against Barcelona.
How many of you think the sun can rise in the West? It is indeed the end of Andrey Arshavin. He’s been a great player and now it is time to enjoy him in the remaining 2-3 games he plays.
Till next time.
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PS: I’m a big big fan of the Russian and I wish he stays.