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Andrei Arshavin: Arsenal’s Added Cutting Edge


Football fans are not the most patient of breeds and short memories  are part and parcel of the game. As Arsenal hit top form and sit comfortably within the coveted Champions League places, few Gunners will recall that spell between January and February when their attack floundered haplessly.

Shorn of their captain Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal stumbled to three consecutive goalless draws in the league at the Emirates and left Arsene Wenger’s side desperate for extra attacking impetus. Since the beginning of March Arsenal have scored 22 goals in just seven games in the Premier League and are repaying their manager’s abundant faith in their ability.

Attacking abandon has returned to North London and is encapsulated in the form of Russian wizard Andrei Arshavin. Arsene Wenger’s theory of a six-month bedding in period for foreign players arriving in the Premier League has been thoroughly tested by a player who has provided six goals and six assists since his big money transfer from Zenit St. Petersburg in January.

Wenger’s distaste for the January transfer window is well known but this season he cast those prejudices aside and spent big. That confidence is now being rewarded in spades by a player who looks to the manor born in the hectic pace of the Premier League.

From his stunning strike against Blackburn to his four goal spree at Anfield, the diminutive Russian has added an extra dimension to Arsenal’s attacking play. Arshavin’s blend of vision, pace and technique has spurred the Gunners on and dovetailed superbly with the return to the team of captain and totem, Fabregas.

Against Middelsbrough on Sunday the Spaniard and Arshavin once again hinted at a creative partnership that could be the envy of the league next season. With Fabregas deployed in a more attacking role the pair linked up fabulously throughout the match, Arshavin displaying a sublime range of passing. There may have been a couple of comical efforts on goal thrown in but once again Arshavin was bright and industrious. Arsenal followers must wince at his omission from the starting line-up for the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Arshavin’s signing has been hugely important on the pitch as his arrival has re-ignited Arsenal’s season and seemingly put to bed the challenge of Aston Villa for the last Champions League spot. Equally significant though has been the symbolic effect his transfer has had at the North London club. After losing established players like Flamini and Hleb last summer many in the media have been labeling Arsenal a ‘selling club’ that fails to hold on to their big players.

This perception may be off the mark but there certainly seemed to be an unease emanating from the dressing room over Arsenal’s transfer policy. At different times this season both Fabregas and Robin Van Persie have commented publicly on Arsenal’s need to show a little more ambition in the transfer market. By signing Arshavin Arsenal have certainly done that and shown that when the player is right Wenger is not afraid to loosen the purse strings. Arshavin has adapted to Arsenal’s distinct style almost immediately and is clearly revered by his teammates.

Arsenal fans may have to sit through another summer of transfer speculation over Cesc Fabregas but this signing should go a long way to convincing those at the club that Arsenal mean business. It is amazing the difference a couple of months and an infusion of Russian class can make.

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  1. Sockyboii

    April 30, 2009 at 3:23 am

    AA, is a great deal 4 arsenal. they needed some more flair upfront and with his attributes arsenal will go along way. there is still room for improvement around the park but arsenal will get their just give them a bit of time 2 sort it all out
    joga bonito!

  2. Derek

    April 28, 2009 at 1:36 am

    He has shown to be a first team selection. What a pick up for the Gunners and it shut the mouths of the others fans/pundits who claim about AW transfer policy. He just doesn’t “waste” money on players who will not add to the quality of Arsenal.

    But I must say that it is true Arsenal do not have high salaries compared to the other top four and this does hold them back on signing big name/big transfer players. AA was on a big-time salary from Zenit and he was not going to take a pay cut to play for Arsenal. So AW had to bite the bullet on that one or he would not be playing for the Gunners.

  3. darren

    April 27, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Whoever hung Arshavins shirt put two holes in it : )

  4. Matt

    April 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I wish Arshavin wasn’t cup tied and could play with Arsenal in the Champions League.
    This summer Wenger needs to dip in that kitty and sign a GK, Central Defenders, and a Holding Midfielder. I think those three pieces could really put Arsenal in prime position to push for the title.
    I think Joe Hart and Sebastien Bassong are going to be available in the Summer.
    But thus far, Arshavin has been worth every penny.

  5. mid

    April 27, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    gmp: its yohan gourkuff,

  6. ryan

    April 27, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    gmp that’s wishful thinking.

    besides which we already have a fantastic squad. there are only a couple of parts of the team which a little change would help. personally i don’t think denilson or diaby are up to scratch, but toher than those two there’s very little wrong with our squad right now when we have everyone fit.

  7. gmp

    April 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    good article, wonder whats going to hapen in the summer though. hw about goufcouf plus 15m from milan(for ade) to occupy the left wing with tommy, and nas can stay deep(that seems to be his natural postion) we can then sgn huntelaar and mb sell big nikand get, moreno(bolivian).
    ow, if only wishes were horses. im thinking of a 1st team of

    a starting 11 of almunia, sagna, clichy, kolo, lescott/assong, nasri, cesc, arshain, gouffcon, rvp, huntelaar would be irresistible.
    and a 2nd 11 of fabianski, eboue, galas, lugano, song, diaby, theo, thomas/vela, eduardu, moreno.
    this squad would be he envy of all of europe. the money can be raised from the sale of ade and nik. we can easily raise 22mil(15m +gouffcon from milan) 7m for nik or a straigt swap for lescott or 5m for bassong. lugano wud be a free signing, 12m for huntelaar and find 10m for moreno
    net outlay=10mil. im sure we can afford that

  8. Dan

    April 27, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Wenger may have spent big to get Arshavin but leaving him on the bench for the FA semi was cruelty.

    I am happy to see an Arsenal article but the user above put it well, this article was a waste of time and space.

  9. Mike Hunt

    April 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Rory Tevlin ur about as usefull as a kick in the bollix.

  10. ArthurArseGooner

    April 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    good article. no, great article.

  11. hidra

    April 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Archavin is very nice of Emirates.

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