Arshavin The Missing Link
We waited a long time for Arshavin to become an Arsenal player. He was rumoured to be joining us in the summer, but Zenit’s insistence on a £20m plus transfer fee and Wenger believing that Rosicky will return in October meant that Arshavin was not a priority. Our early season form, the late return of Rosicky and the fear of not qualifying for the Champions League prompted the board into making funds available to sign the little Russian.
From his debut against Sunderland it was clear to all present that we had signed someone who was special. He has an eye for goal and is not shy to shoot on sight, he is fast and possesses good control of the ball and can thread a pin-point pass to his team-mates. Arshavin is a direct player, he does not play along the line, his aim is to move the ball forward towards the goal as quickly as possible. That might be via a direct run at goal as he did against Blackburn for his goal or a through ball, which as time goes on his team-mates will be able to read and Arsenal will be the beneficiaries.
He is probably the shortest player in the squad, and for current Arsenal squad that is saying something, but he never shirks a tackle and will always jump for every ball.
Arshavin is very similar to two other diminutive wingers who made a great impression in their time at the club. The men in question are Marc Overmars and Ander Limpar. Both were little pocket battleships, but they had one thing in mind and that was to drive forward and score. Both were instrumental in Arsenal title winning teams. When we sold Overmars, Wenger brought in Robert Pires, a different type of wide player but a goal scorer nonetheless. Since his departure we have been missing that player from the midfield who was direct and could score and create goals. Arshavin is that missing player.
All too often our attacks have faltered on the halfway line, as players were not sure what to do, with Arshavin, however, there is only one way the ball is going to go, forward every time. Saturday saw a classic Arsenal counter attack as Song picked up the ball in midfield, played a ball to Arshavin who play a first time cross field pass into the path of two oncoming players. In the past the ball would not have been played forward, instead the midfielder would have stopped and waited to play the ball square back.
The man is hungry for success and he will help Arsenal achieve success and bring silverware to the Emirates.