The mystery of Andrey Arshavin

There are some characters in the Premier League. Man City’s Mario Balotelli springs to mind, of course, and is as eccentric as they come, his list of misdemeanors now infamous in football folklore. Djibrill Cisse of QPR is pretty bonkers, too.

Andrey Arshavin is up near the top in terms of craziest in league and if you don’t believe me please visit his website and the Ask Arshavin section. Comedy gold.

The little Russian is such a frustrating player. There is absolutely no doubting his talent but it is the lack of effort from the owl looking Ruski that frustrates so much. When he first arrived at Arsenal, it was clear that he was keen to impress and he provided some outstanding moments. The four goals against Liverpool at Anfield is the best highlight but the whole period from when he arrived in January to the end of the 2009 season Arshavin displayed his world class ability.

In the seasons that have followed there have been flashes of brilliance, the winning goal against Barcelona and more recently against Reading, for example, but now it appears Arshavin has lost interest in his football and is happy playing barely a bit part role in Arsene Wenger’s team. And that is a real shame because for a footballer of Arshavin’s talent to be content with settling for near anonymity is disappointing and incredibly frustrating as a fan.

There is also the fact that he is, shall we say, a little lazy. Tracking back and working for the team aren’t very high on Arshavin’s list of priorities when he is on a football pitch, traits which has attracted the ire of Arsenal fans. 

As an aside, the issue of not working for the team and laziness is one that is common in quite a few football players at the highest level. Considering the amount of money that most players are paid and the amount that fans pay to watch football at the top level, it is nothing short of a disgrace when footballers are able to come off the field without putting a 100% into their performance. And perhaps that’s part of the reason why footballers are viewed in such bad light currently.

Anyway, can Arshavin play a significant role for Arsenal this season? It is obvious that he is pretty far down Wenger’s pecking order and most of his playing time will be in the Capital One Cup for the foreseeable future.

If Wenger’s hand is forced, though, due to injuries then maybe he will have to look to the owly one for some sort of creative inspiration somewhere down the line. Who knows? Perhaps Wenger won’t play him at all or perhaps he’ll score a hat-trick in the Champions League final, such is the unpredictability of the minute Russian.

Jerry van Wav

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