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Friday, 24 February 2012

The Demise of the Arsh

It could have been so much better for the little maestro that was, or is Andrei Arshavin.  After so much promise in Euro 2008 for his national side everybody believed that there would be a new star in world football.

2008 was quite a Summer for the winger, who won the Uefa Cup with Zenit St. Petersburg as well as being voted Man of the Match in the 2-0 Final win against Rangers before going on to win the European Super Cup; beating Manchester United 2-1.

Arshavin celebrates his team's Uefa Cup triumph
A few months later saw Arshavin playing in Euro 2008 where, despite missing the first two Russian games due to suspension showed his class as he tormented Sweden by scoring one and assisting in another and repeating this feat against The Netherlands (winning Man of the Match) before his side bowed out of the competition with defeat to Spain in the semi-finals.

Arshavin's form at the Euros had clubs chasing his signature
Fastforward to January 2009 and Arshavin swapped cold Russia for cold England as he joined Arsenal for a club-record £15million fee.

It was an up-and-down career at Arsenal - The first two seasons he was pretty much unplayable, the obvious highlight was Arshavin netting four at Anfield in a 4-4 draw with Liverpool.  In the same season he was voted The Gunners' Player of the Month for April and finished second in Arsenal's Player of the Season award despite only playing half a season and playing in fewer than a quarter of the club's games all season.  His second season in English football was similar to the first as the Russian assisted and scored in a season that saw Arsene Wenger's side end in 3rd place, 11 points off of Champions Chelsea.

The final two campaigns weren't as successful as the goals, assists and game time dried up and apart from his first ever Champions League goal for the north Londoners; a winning goal in a 2-1 win against Barcelona at the Emirates little else happened for the little man and the fans began to criticise their one time hero.

Arshavin had gone from hero to zero
His final season or half season at the club saw the emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a summer buy from Championship side Southampton as Arshavin found himself mostly on the bench for the final months of his Gunners career.

There was one last hurrah though as, in injury time at Sunderland he crossed for club legend Thierry Henry to volley home; a final Arsenal appearance for both players, the assist similar to the Arshavin of old,  just a parting gift to the Arsenal faithful as weeks later he returned to Zenit on loan till the end of the season.

And so, as we wave goodbye to the player, who, with his contract up at the end of the season, I predict it is highly unlikely he will return to the Emirates.  A shame in my opinion that an extremely talented player never showed his talent for a longer period of time in the Premier League.

Arsh is back at Zenit

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