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Arshavins Instant Impact

Players from foreign leagues can take up to 6 months to settle into the pace and style of premier league football the conventional wisdom would have it. There is enough evidence from a number of previous signings to feel that is wisdom with some validity.

Andrey Arshavin is an exception to the rule. In only his second full month playing for the club he has been awarded the Premier League Player of the Month Award for April. Signed in the January window his debut, which lasted just over an hour, was not until late February in the home fixture against Sunderland in a dull 0-0 draw followed by another 0-0 draw at home to Fulham in which he played 90 minutes on the final day of the month. The creative influence was clear though, to the extent that the teams` creative balance is lost when he is unable to play. A deficit evident for much of this season.

His individual performance last month with 4 goals against Liverpool to earn a draw against the balance of play couldn`t fail to catch the eye but his real impact has been a little more subtle. In just 12 games plus one as a substitute he has notched up 6 goals, including that 4 goal haul, but also 5 assists. The total goal attempts he has created in 10 PL starts is 21 which isn`t too far short of Fabregas territory and a bit ahead of Nasri.

What he does bring is illustrated for me by a simple pass across the box for van Persie to lash in an equaliser in the Cup game against Hull. As Robin moved into position in the penalty box and started to spread his arms to appeal for a pass as he had done I am sure, without reward many times this season, the ball was already on his way to him from the compact Russian. It`s that ability to see the simple things early, to make the right decisions and execute them quickly that makes the difference.

We have players, such as Bendtner, Walcott and Diaby who all have quality but whose decision making doesn't always yet reflect that quality. The ability to make the right choices at the right time will come but isn`t there yet. Its Arshavins ability to make those choices correctly, automatically in fact, that marks his combination of intelligence and quality. He still has to develop parts of his game defensively, which is perhaps the adjustment he still needs to make to this league, but the ability to think quickly and get the decision right,as he does, is what our game has missed for long periods of this season. Much more so than ball winning midfielders or aerially dominant centre backs.

I doubted that Arshavin would have time in 15 or so games to have much impact this season though he answered the need for a more creative contribution. I underestimated the Russians strength of character and determination to hit the ground running. He will be 28 this month. In a position that calls for great physical demands his is a star that might not shine at the club for as long as some others have done but he seems determined to make certain that it shines brighter than most.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday May 9 2009

Time: 2:11PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Great piece Amos. AA 'might not shine at the club for as long as some others have done', true. He joined us around the same age as Bobby did, and he doesn't look like the kind of guy who'd want to jump to another club (though his agent might tell him to), we could see him emulate Bobby and give his best years to the club!
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09/05/2009 14:33:00

Pires was a year younger when he joined us and stayed 6 years though he wasn't always a first choice in his final season. If we get 3 or 4 more good seasons out of Andrey we can be more than content with that.
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09/05/2009 14:42:00

Here's a Setanta summary of Opta numbers, comparing AA's creative stats with Cesc, Nasri and Theo. Clearly he's an improvement on what we already had in our the attacking force - look at his shots per game, chances created per game, etc:
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09/05/2009 14:46:00

He is very unstable and moody player..Now he shows glimpses of a quality because of a huge wow-factor. This season he was fighting for a starting place, but when he gets guaranteed place he won't make an inpact on a game. You all will see the biggest dissapointment at his second season..
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09/05/2009 14:46:00

Arshavin fought so hard to get the chance to prove himself in another league at an age when he could have settled for what he had already gained that I doubt he will freewheel for the rest of his contract. He may disappoint next season but he looks to be cast from a more positive mould to me.
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09/05/2009 14:57:00

Leonax, have you ever heard of the chap named Cantona? I'll be glad for him to remain "unstable and moody" if he can be as successful for us as the crazy frog was! And I use the word "frog" with no malice.
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09/05/2009 21:53:00

"We have players, such as Bendtner, Walcott and Diaby who all have quality but whose decision making doesn't always yet reflect that quality." I'd leave Bendtner out of that list. He usually makes the correct decision but can't execute it.
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10/05/2009 00:46:00

deledudu, bad comparison with King Eric.. He made a huge impact on Man Utd game within 5 years, and i really doubt that Arshavin could even match another russian - Kanchelskis at the Premier-League.. I know many things about Arse-shavin' because i'm from Russia and i have seen lots of his games.. I don't believe that he could be useful in a long-run term.. next season you will see that, guys..
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10/05/2009 01:12:00

He's been the best thing that has happened all season
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10/05/2009 05:11:00

Nice Article Amos, I for one am looking forward to seeing the impact that AA has on the team and the Premiership next season, with his goals and his assists. He could be one of Arsene best January Signing!?
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10/05/2009 07:20:00

we should have bought hime
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10/05/2009 14:36:00

brilliant talent, and an honest guy. what more could you want from a player? (...maybe he could be a little taller?...)
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10/05/2009 17:17:00

the only other player I can recall bettering his impact is ZOLA. Franco was voted Player of the Year despite only being here for six months. If he turns out as good as him you'll have a gem on your hands!
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10/05/2009 19:27:00

Nice article, Amos. The decision making comes with the experience, I suppose. The only question being whether Wenger views this as a one-off, or is ready to buy experience. He has a positive impact on the team - Nasri & Cesc have played better as a result, as the creative onus is shared around.
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10/05/2009 21:32:00

Maybe he'll fizzle out in the second month? Deco definitely did! :D
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12/05/2009 04:59:00

JT_daniel - Deco fizzled out after his 5th game mate! LOL I think AA is in it for the long term at Arsenal and his performances so far have ranged from average to absolutly stellar. Either way, no matter what type of game he is having he always has an impact! All that ability for less than £15 million, you cannot go wrong! One of the last few true class bargains that you will find.
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13/05/2009 12:28:00


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