How Do You Solve A Problem Like Arshavin?

by Luke McGee

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

For the vast majority of this season I’ve been damning Gael Clichy from the pit of my stomach all the way to Hades for his ludicrous interpretation of how to play at left back.

Constantly out of position, easily beaten by anyone who runs at him, never chasing down a ball or closing down a man, I’ve held him personally responsible for a number of the goals that Arsenal have conceded thus far this season.

However, against Chelsea something quite remarkable happened; Gael Clichy won loose balls, made tackles, dominated his flank and for the first time in months didn’t look at all out of his depth. This sort of performance was then miraculously repeated away at St. Andrews. What could possibly have brought on this sudden understanding of how the game of football is played?

I have a suspicion that for months I have been unfairly criticising Gael, a player who we know has all the ability of a world class full back, and some serious questions should have been asked of a certain lazy Russian short-ass.

What do you do with a player like Arshavin. Wonderful goal scoring and assist record, but woeful in every other aspect. I am starting to think that Clichy’s hapless defending has been emphasised by Arshavin’s refusal to help out his full back.

As soon as Samir Nasri was moved from the middle of the pitch to left wing, suddenly Clichy found himself with some protection, allowing him to move forward freely knowing that his position was covered when Arsenal were attacking and having some support defensively when the opposition have the ball, meaning that the left back position could be filled properly in the right areas of the pitch.

It has become fairly obvious that Nasri is a more effective player in all areas of the pitch than the Russian captain, which raises the question, what should Arsenal do with their tiny dynamo?

He is getting on a bit, his pace is¬†visibly¬†fading and he gives the ball away far too often. It’s all well and good scoring the odd goal and getting an assist, but that shouldn’t give a player lisence to drop out of a game.

Arsenal had this exact problem with Adebayor, and I believe that it might be worth seeing what sort of price Arsenal could get for little Andrei in the January transfer window, a time when players can be sold for more than they are worth.

If they can’t sell him, then AA23 makes a fine squad player and bench warmer, however a few million for a player that didn’t break the bank to begin with who plays a position that several others in the squad can play would make good business sense.

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  • g4eva

    replace him with ronaldinho. Sorted.

  • kabir

    Arsenal supporters must clearly be more intelligent and supportive of their own players than this article. Arsharvins contributions to the team are important and the stats prove it. He can win the game by himself, and makes intelligent passes to unlock defences. Selling him?? Come on mate!! Support your team. Wenger respects Arsharvin and knows his role in the squad…if you can’t see it, then at least write artcles that uplift squad morale. Be a true Gooner!!

  • Kingsley

    Like Kabir Said; Be A True Gunner And Lift Up The Team Spirit Rather Than TALKING Bull…. Gunner“Z Forever…

  • Luke McGee

    Oh dear, I didn’t mean to upset any of you! Yes, point taken, a real fan should be getting behind players and I will certainly think about that in the future before venting my anger.

    Still, can any of you really say that the money Arsenal could pick up from the sale of an international captain wouldn’t be handy?

    Also, what do you see AA23’s role in the club being now?

    Thank you for your comments.

  • Mystical Mike

    i said exactly the same thing 6 weeks ago, he is a luxury player, I’d personally rather Walcott start ahead of him, thats the one thing we lack when he’s not playing, pace, and no one is quicker then him.

    As for Ashavin, he dreams of playing for Barca, but I’m afraid he’s form is not good enough

  • Luke McGee

    Did you? I missed it, can I have a link please? I agree, he is a luxury player. He is probably useful to have on the bench if we are one down and need a spark of magic, it’s his defensive laziness that does my head in. Any thought on the Adebayor comparison?

  • RedanDread

    Spot on mate. Wenger has a high regard for Arshavin but he has been dropped due to his poor performances in helping out the team defensively. I have been saying from the word go that the reason Clichy was having such a torrid time was exactly as you pointed out-no assistance from Arshavin. He has to learn that the game is both offense & defense and this team cannot carry passengers.

    There is no doubt he is a match winner but he MUST improve his on his defensive duties.

  • chudy

    spot on,AA23 should improve his defensive game and not lossing ball always,

    i understand that he gamble to pass defenders,unfortunately losses the ball,but while gambling remember the team

  • Joshua Fowler

    I agree he may not pull his weight, but having players like Arshavin make a difference to the reputation of the club and to the way we play. He may not have scored tonnes this season, 7 in all comps, but his assists, 11, can be vital and above all else…he has single handedly won us a few important games in the 2/3 minutes he actually does play for.

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