Arsene Wenger has publicly backed his player citing his statistics in assisting and scoring goals so far this season. Arsene believes he is happy with this as Arshavin plays a game based on risk, which can produce dividends.
As I look at Arshavin this season I see a completely different player to the dynamic skilful player who burst on to the premier league scene this season. Gone are the mazy runs and efforts on goal from range and replaced are shots from inside the area and short intricate passes. Could it be that the Arshavin who bought something different to the Arsenal cause has become to Arsenalised?
His recent presentation, which was filled with emotion and passion that secured Russia the World Cup in 2018, has not been on show enough this season. The reaction he gives when he loses the ball is not one of a good old-fashioned football player who does everything he can to win the ball back. It is one of despair a shrug of the shoulders whilst he stands still for a couple of seconds whilst the opposition build up a counter attack and ruthlessly expose the left sided flank of the Arsenal rear guard.
However there is Arsene’s counter argument that his statistics show he is a match winner and integral to Arsenals attacking course and this is a compelling argument that cannot be ignored. Arshavin has scored 6 goals in all competitions so far this season exactly half of the total goals scored last season, and has assisted on 11 occasions this season in all competitions 4 more assists than the whole of last season.
The stats certainly weigh in Arshavin’ favour indications are he is ruthlessly exploiting opposition defenders in a far more understated way, which to the fans of free flowing football may go unnoticed, so is the criticism of Arshavin harsh?
It will remain an open debate between statistician and fan for the rest of the season. English fans love a determined aggressive style of play and will be hoping that Arshavin delivers the passion of his Country's world cup bid for the rest of the season. Whilst I am sure Mr Wenger and the fans that love to see a risk being taken will praise his efforts of prizing open opportunities that arise from that risky pass that no one else would see.