Does Arshavin need to be dropped?

While there are still a few cries of despair in the wave of the Sunderland draw, it’s pleasing to note that Arsenal fans have been much more stoic about Saturday’s end result than has been so in the past. I think, deep down, many of us realise that a point might have been almost a little more than we deserved. All things considered, we got a point from a pretty tough away-game to the North-East, let alone one where the Captain goes of injured with a half left to play AND we’re reduced to 10-men for the final fourty minutes – well, really, salvaging a point doesn’t seem that bad after all.
Of course, we can’t forget that this was a fixture we left empty-handed from last season. It ended in such similar fashion; it could almost have been a carbon-copy. I’d go as far as to say that without Fabregas’s freak goal, I’d have been checking to see whether this was actually a replay. Sunderland had our number in that fixture and this one; they shut us down, worked hard all night, won the ball back quickly and defended very deep. It was everything we struggle with, so credit to them really for playing a strong and sensible game, and, I’d like to note, a relatively FAIR game. They didn’t go out there with the sole, thuggish intention to hurt us. I think a lot of teams can learn that playing fairly and playing to beat our tactics is a far more effective method of taking us out of the game than to LITERALLY try and take us out of the game, one by one.
However, through all the sweat and mud and despair and disappointment, one thing seemed quite blatantly obvious. There was one player on our team who, yet again, looked severely off the pace. I think most of you, even without the title to this article would’ve been able to guess who, but for everybody else, I’m talking about Arshavin. Game after game this season he has looked poor. All the parts of his play which had been calling-cards of his seem to have dematerialised; he can’t beat his man, his finishing is shocking, his passing is loose and confused. Game after game after game, we’re seeing this. So why is he apparently the only player in our team (Fabregas aside) who’s position is untouchable?
One would only have to look at the Braga match to see the worst of Arshavin so far this season. His passing performance, and even his running and movement, was easily the worst on the pitch from our side. I think he had something like a 45% pass-success ratio at the end of that first 45 minutes. Like I said, less than impressive. But most of all, and it’s a problem the problem that most of us had last season as well, he just can’t seem to put the ball in the net when he should for love nor money. For every goal he is scoring, he’s throwing away, two, three, four more. It’s unbelievable really. It happened to us all last season as well – I think you’ll all unhappily remember the loss at home to Manchester United, the one where Arshavin could’ve put the game away for us in the first 15 minutes? Those sorts of performances are happening over and over.
I think equally concerning is that the little Russian seems to have lost a lot of his unpredictability. He isn’t beating his man, and every time he runs at a defender, you just know he’s going to come out without the ball. It seems he’s missing a bit of his spark, which is obviously of great concern to him – earlier in the season he was already lamenting that his style has lost its spark (see here … nid-76197/)

More than any other sensationalist ideas that will be put forward, one’s that suggest his ‘mind is elsewhere’ and what not, it seems clear that he is just suffering from a SEVERE lack of form, which is unfortunate. But I think in this case, there’s two ways to handle a player in bad form – keep playing them until they grind their way through it, or put them on the bench for a while, to reflect and come back hungry to regain their position. I’m definitely a fan of the latter in this case.
I know a lot of people will argue that he’s scoring goals, he’s providing assist, but really, take a good look at the goals he’s scoring; do you think those who replace him in the position would be failing to score those goals? Nasri, Rosicky, even Wilshere and Gibbs are naturals for that position. His missed chances have been going unpunished so far, that was, until Sunderland, when it became clear what a liability it is to have somebody throwing away several goals a game. Chelsea are benefitting at the moment from having a man in Arshavin’s position, Malouda, absolutely putting them away, whereas, to our detriment, Arshavin is at the opposite end of the form scale.
So why does he continue to retain his place? There’s probably a couple of theories. One might be that we don’t have the depth in midfield to be dropping top players at the moment, but I don’t buy it. As I mentioned earlier, Nasri, Rosicky, and a couple more would love to be filling that attacking role on the left. How long have those players, Nasri especially, been begging for a chance to be able to cut in and shoot with their right foot? Maybe it’s time they go it.
Another theory may be that Wenger is a bit afraid to drop Arshavin. Maybe he’s worried that he’ll have a strop and cause trouble? It’s possible, he can be a bit temperamental at times, but when it’s costing us points like it did yesterday, and COULD’VE done numerous times this season, we really don’t have a choice.
This isn’t an attempt to vilify our Russian Maestro, nor to make him a scapegoat for the Sunderland draw. There’s no way that we can pin that performance on one player; we were, as a team, lucky to escape with a point. Rather, this is a suggestion, which I’m sure will be well-received by most, that either his ego or his reputation, or both, is bigger than his performances at the moment, and though he has proved he is a good player in the past, sometimes it takes a bit of time in one’s own head to work out how to be better. When you know you’re guaranteed that starting spot, there’s no incentive. We all jsut want to see Arshavin back to his dazzling best, and to be honest, it’s been a while since we’ve seen anything close to that.


Debate this more on the forum –


  1. martin

    September 20, 2010 at 12:39 am

    and play who?

    nasri and walcott can play for us down the right, but who puts pressure on arshavin?

    we’ve got no one down the left, we need to buy a left winger in january to put pressure on arshavin and even rest him, til then we need him playing …no matter form

  2. Bouteller

    September 20, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Martin – You are a big fool. Nasri is actually more suited to the left (and center) than right. He only plays there because Arshavin (isn’t as versatile and) has no where else to be positioned.

    Rosicky can also be more effective on the left with the way he actually TRACKS BACK to help Clichy and not just drop his head when he looses the ball (like Arshavin). Bar his PK miss yesterday, Rosicky has proven quite useful with his pace and passes…especially the ones he splits defenses with through the tip of his foot.

    That said, I remember a blogger suggesting something about Arshavin’s attitude less than a year ago and we all seemed to disagree but have been realizing the guy’s point ever since

  3. Adam

    September 20, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Braga game – 1 goal + 2 assists. Are you sure that is the best example of the worst of Arshavin?

  4. The Rookie

    September 20, 2010 at 1:24 am

    He’s in an indifferent run of form. He just needs to keep playing. Rosicky in same firm re goalscoring. Both just need games. I’d start both Tuesday.

  5. jenya

    September 20, 2010 at 1:26 am

    I agree that he has lost his spark but it seems he has improved since the beginning of the season. He missed a lot of opportunities but some of his assists were brilliant. One moment of brilliance can turn things around.

  6. Sam

    September 20, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Im not saying your wrong about dropping him. Perhaps that is the solution as i agree his form as been shocking at times.. However i think you fail to realise how good his movement can be in creating chances for us. That man utd game you mention is a prime example. While he should have put a couple of those away, he was the one creating those chances and providing the spark for us.

  7. eman

    September 20, 2010 at 1:48 am

    give vela a chance!

  8. Malay gooner

    September 20, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Arshavin sometimes on and off..sometimes his good and sometimes his lack of form..i would love to see vela challenging him in that position..I hope last Saturday Wenger subs Chamakh or Arshavin with Vela..that certainly change the game..but Wenger didn’t. It my biggest disappointment since Wenger is experienced enough.

  9. cy arsenal

    September 20, 2010 at 3:04 am

    YEAH ..vELA..WHY NOT..He’s Lethal when come in as a subs.. NO ARSHAVIN..we’ll be BETTER. He can’t defend either…

  10. Nik

    September 20, 2010 at 3:15 am

    I’m with Eman, give Vela a go. He’s a natural left footer, or go back to a 442 with Vela and Chamakh up front, Rosicky Nasri Song and Wilshere in the midfield.

  11. maxton

    September 20, 2010 at 4:09 am

    i agree with the fact dat the he plays is nt compititive, so he plays because he belive dat so far he fully fit he has d start spot. He need someone of equal or better ability who can put him on d bench

  12. goooooooner

    September 20, 2010 at 4:29 am

    honestly, Arshavin is one lazy guy, goodness, the guy shuld lose some weight or something, he is just not a hustler anymore, may be he shuld take some lesson from chamakh


    September 20, 2010 at 4:49 am

    He has a big mouth and always feels his better than the rest and if he thought he was a Barca material he should know he is not even half what Henry used to be and there Henry used to be benched.I agree with the 2 of you give Vela a chance the few minutes he has played he always score

  14. Albert

    September 20, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Rosicky is flying leave a lone the missed penalty that anyone can miss, but why leave him on the bench and Asha who cant run passed a defender runs faster than the ball, i mean every thing he does seems confused, let this guy have a rest, give others a chance

  15. vitus

    September 20, 2010 at 6:24 am

    It would make sence to drop AA23 depending on the fixture, AW has more options now

  16. Bilal

    September 20, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Yess we need to put arshavin under pressure…cause he is missing chances a lot….it seems he is not focused enough…. on his site he wants to be come a great footballer and on the pitch he cant get simple goals away….

  17. perry

    September 20, 2010 at 6:35 am

    wenger should atleast give vela a chance

  18. billz

    September 20, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Beat it mate, get your facts right and then think of writing an article. Arshavin was the player to build the whole Braga game and the one the opponents were so eager to block. If you concentrate you would have noticed that most teams press with 2 to 3 players on Arshavin when he is attacking. So sometimes it becomes hard to precisely get the pass done. Our season depends on just the 2 best and the most fit players we have which are Arshavin and Fabregas.

  19. steve

    September 20, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I think he is a bit of a homer saying he did score 4 @Liverpool he needs to liven up. I do think he is a luxury player I’m sitting on the h/w line on wed & tihnking what a lazy b—–d then he makes two sitters

  20. macpap

    September 20, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Totally agree,see 606.He is not playing 50% as well as last year.Put Vela in there for a couple of games,bet he does well!!

  21. FCdeMatthew

    September 20, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Arshavin needs to rest for a few games. His passing can be shockingly poor at times. Pay more attention to his performances in the next games. Also, he can’t defend. Having said this, i think he is a talented player. We just can’t afford to see him play like this frequently.

    To say that we were lucky to get a point from that game is a bit inaccurate. We had a penalty that we didn’t score. We were not really troubled by their attackers.

    That’s the difference between Chelsea and us. They don’t have to play very well to get 3 points, while we have to play very hard in away games to get a point or 3 points.

  22. steve muema

    September 20, 2010 at 8:20 am

    i know Arshavin can do better.its early to judge his perfomance.

  23. GUN1

    September 20, 2010 at 8:23 am



  24. le prof

    September 20, 2010 at 8:23 am

    i think i know why wenger aint dropping him-even tho his all-round game seems and is alot of the time poor his penetrative passing and movement is one of the best in the team, he makes decisive actions which create clear chances. he is abit lazy, obviously a bad trainer and looks like a small boy in an empty toys r us sometimes but the timing of his mind in the oppositions half is usually very good.

    plus we dont have great options-nasri is developing into a central player, so is wilshire, gibbs is a left back who can attack, vela hasnt got the midfield craft to play left-so until we get ben-arfa we have to support the shhh man.

  25. Andy Hug

    September 20, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Agreed completely. Arshavin has been a shell of his former self. I was at the Bolton game the other week and he was terrible. Looked way off the pace and missed multiple chances. Give Rosicky a start for sure, let Arshavin refocus and give him the hunger to get back into the team

  26. MickTheGunner

    September 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Can’t believe some of u so-called gunners are agreeing with this crap. Firstly no one more than me agrees with the fact that arshavin isn’t having his best form but 2 suggest 2 drop him 4 that chump nasri is laughable.. Let’s look at this seasons stats so far shall we : Arshavin – played 6 games, scored 3 and setup 3 goals… Nasri – played 3, scored 0 goals and setup 0 goals… Them are facts, not opinions FACTS. U people wanna try watchin arsenal games

  27. Craigie

    September 20, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    It’s you that clearly hasn’t seen the games. On paper Arshavin is pulling his weight, in reality he is not. He’s scored goals that were not spectacular, they weren’t genius goals that only he can score and Vela could not. His assists were good yes, but they were against horrible defences that were begging to be sliced open.

    Personally I would go with Traore against lesser opposition (i.e. West Brom). He is like Bale, a good player who is a terrible defender. He has energy and will run, he has pace and a good cross. Will also give us some width which with Chamakh up front is now finally a useful thing for an Arsenal winger.

  28. mubbs

    September 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Bill makes a good point aa always has 4 guys on him but he is selfish in thinking he can get past them all, though he can do it its a 80% chance he will do it but he always takes it up. He is not suffering from lack of confidence he just wants to do the spectular and doesnt think about the normal

  29. Curt

    September 22, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Craigie, your right, aside from one thing – Traore is no longer an Arsenal player. Transferred to Juventus.

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