Arshavin enigma no closer to being solved

Russia’s 4-1 win over the Czech Republic was exhilarating, exhibiting the kind of exuberance they showed in 2008 when they finally captured – after nearly two decades of obscurity – their total footballing heritage. They passed the ball quickly, poured forward in numbers and punished the Czechs when it mattered. Andrey Arshavin was superb, directing counter-attacks with sharpness. For his apologist, the win was a massive advert of what Arsenal did wrong. Except we can’t possibly excuse three years in which his numbers (except passing accuracy) were on the back of a match. Indeed, if he can play so well for Russia, what is it that makes it different at Arsenal?

For one, Arshavin relishes playing for his country; the responsibility of captaincy paradoxically liberating him. The other is the level of freedom he gets for Russia that he can’t possibly at Arsenal. Because for the national side, he’s the one player that’s capable of moments of spontaneity – and that kind of responsibility would be too much for Dzagoev – but for Arsenal, he is offered a degree of freedom but how much more can Wenger subsidise his role?

More appropriately, it’s that extra space he’s offered at international or Russian domestic level that he thrives on, particularly on the break. Perhaps, giving him a central role might have allowed him to do that at Arsenal, but patently, Wenger doesn’t see him as a playmaker. The Czech were naive to offer him that room – but they did so, because they thought they could go toe-to-toe with the Russians. In the Premier League, most teams approach Arsenal in an overly cautious manner thus 60+% of the game is played in their half. As such, it must be said, Arshavin simply hasn’t been able to adjust to the lack of space in an Arsenal shirt. Indeed, the Czech Republic realised their 4-1-4-1 was giving too much room on the break for him and a result, in the second-half, put on another holding midfielder, Thomas Hubschmann, to try and shore things up before the floodgates eventually opened again.

It was the partnership with Dzagoev, though, which caught the eye, interchanging freely with him in a way that Arshavin might not be afforded at Arsenal with Theo Walcott. The Gunners tried to do that more last season but not in real time and rather, at designated phases of the match. For Russia, they both figured wide in a 4-3-3 initially but were tasked with roaming inside, at times resembling a Christmas Tree shape.

In turn, Arshavin thrilled and dazzled for Russia in a way all too familiar yet too far for the Gunners.

13 Comments on "Arshavin enigma no closer to being solved"

  1. since the advent of live news feed, its become easier to catch cheats… 

    plagiarized word for word from

    a pity!

  2. said on here too many times that Wenger ruined him playing him wide, anyone who doubted that at the time has spent today wiping egg off their chops !

    • The article says – but more to the point – for Russia, Arshavin plays wide. So can you justify how Wenger wasted him?

      • Great point. He plays wide for Russia and can cut inside. No different to his role at Arsenal. He has wasted his talent by being lazy. Not just physically, but mentally also. Alot of his passing was lazy and that is what upset fans. If youhave workrate, like Adebayor, it masks the fact you are shit. But if you have talent like Arshavin, but no workrate, it highlights your laziness.

        • It doesn’t mask the fact you are shit at all ! I saw through that in minutes….Harry at his best ! spends 15million on Defoe and then gets Levy to sign Adebayor on loan, in no other business would your boss allow you to do that without conditions, and clearly twitchy didn’t meet his !
          I agree his passing is lazy but that hasn’t changed with Russia anyway it was dreadful the other night,

          • Mashman147 | 15/06/2012 at 10:56 |

            Alot of my friends are Spurs fans and they rate Adebayor. Football is a game of opinions.

        • the old saying in the game “to have energy and no talent is a shame, to have talent and no energy is a tragedy”

      • The article is wrong, Arshavin roams for Russia, jesus he was right wing as much as left the other night, his game is not about chasing back and closing it is about being given a freedom to roam around, and if you can’t understand quite how I mean this (not being sarcastic at all) watch OXO with England, it is a disgrace what Roy is getting that kid to do, just throw him a ball and say get it on with son ! play to his strengths. arshavin the same..

        • I watched every game Arshavin has played for us in past 2 years and he can go wherever he likes on the pitch. However, when we dont have posession he has to defend. As do Messi and Ronaldo.

        • @twitchysdog The article says the key difference between Arshavin’s role at Arsenal as opposed to Russia is the extra freedom he is granted. BUT, Arsenal do grant him a certain level of freedom and certainly more than enough to see him replicate his national form. And there is another issue here and that is the type of opponents he faces at international level – they grant him more room. And sure enough, we saw him  – and Russia – come unstuck when they faced the miserly Greece.

  3. Agree to disagree Arshavin was bought into the team for a paticular role in the eyes of managment, but in saying that, if managment cant see his potential and use it to the teams advantage then that is a huge mistake, Arshavin is a great player and any team he plays for are lucky to have him, im a gunners fan for life but sometimes a wanna slap wenger in the face…. Arshavin is needed in the team for us to win silverware……..

Leave a comment