Watching Andrey Arshavin’s slow demise at Arsenal career, I must admit, was sad to see, considering what a talented player he is.
Arshavin joined Arsenal in January 2009 on the back of helping Zenit St. Peterburg to win UEFA Cup and being the star player in Russia’s march into the semi-finals of the European Championships. During his early career at N5, there was a lot of promise and he provided some memorable moments.
From scoring a belter from 25 yards at Old Trafford out of nothing, to scoring 4(!) at Anfield to scoring THAT winner vs Barcelona at the Emirates. One thing is for sure, Arshavin won’t be forgotten by Arsenal fans.
Unfortunately, he rapidly regressed after a few years here. Many think it was because he was stuck in an unfavourable position on the left wing for much of his time here. Although, others believe it was because of his 6 month-odd stint playing centre forward during which he was kicked to s*** up and down the country.
However, plenty also blame the player himself. It is hard to deny that Andrey had a tendency to plod around the pitch, looking uninterested and lazy.
In my opinion, the moment that sealed Arshavin’s exit from Arsenal was against Man United at Emirates in the 2011/12 season. He was brought on as a late sub at left wing while the score was 1-1 (a decent result). He then proceeded to give away a few passes and trod around the pitch to which the crowd was evidently not happy with. Then United went straight down the right and instead of tracking his man properly, Andrey jogged back – half-arsed – which left our left hand-side totally exposed.
Antonio Valencia then had all the time in the world to deliver a perfect cross which Danny Welbeck duly tucked home. That was the last straw for most Gunners. Many didn’t want him to play for the club again. While he did play for Arsenal every so often over the next two seasons, he was never the same player.
When his contract ran out this summer, it was good news for all parties. Arshavin could find a new club and attempt to rekindle his love for the beautiful game, while Arsenal had freed up £90,000 worth of wages a week.
He has since joined his home town club, Zenit St. Petersburg, where I believe he will be able to enjoy his football again and play to his abilities. I wish him all the luck in his future endeavours.
Farewell Andrey, you little Russian genius.
Written by Charlie Smith
Follow Charlie on Twitter @cjs_afc
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