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Time to rest Arshavin?

Controversially Wenger left Arshavin out against Chelsea in an FA Cup game at the Emirates last season. The defeat, albeit a narrow one compared to league games against the Chavs since, caused that decision to be mocked by many angry supporters. Depending on the fitness of others it maybe that it is time to leave Arshavin out against the same team once more.

The diminutive Russian, very popular as a rare 'big name` signing just a year ago, has shown moments of great composure and undoubted class but this season it has flourished all too rarely. As a star name it seems like heresy to some not to play him but I think he needs the rest. He has been carrying a foot injury for some time and it has been painful to even kick the ball it seems.

"With my knock at the moment I`m trying my best and after each kick I am feeling pain, but I still train every day. I`ve had a few other injuries." Andrey told the press last week.

It maybe that this might explain his somewhat subdued performances but statistically at least Eduardo has created more attempts for others, more assists and got more shots on target. Arshavin has scored more goals, 7 to Eduardo`s 3 but 4 of these were in the early part of the season and his recent scoring rate isn`t better than Eduardo`s. Even allowing that the expected return of Bendtner would release Arshavin from the central striker role currently Eduardo, assuming as anticipated he recovers from a hamstring injury in time, should still offer more against Chelsea than the Russian will.

Andrey`s style of play rather lends itself to the claim by some that play bypasses him sometimes but Wenger at least can see virtue in this.

"Arshavin turns up when something is really needed, not at 4-0 but at 0-0 or 1-1. He likes the big stage. He can be quiet for 20 minutes and then do something decisive." Le Boss has claimed.

That would seem to be a characteristic that could be important this weekend in much the same way as RvP`s individual flair was in the same fixture last season, but I suspect we`ll need more reliable qualities to get something this time around.

Only Fabregas and Song have started more games than Arshavin this season. He has earned a break. If it helps him to recover from any persistent injury and allows him to be the player that we believed we`d signed then that has to be good for him and the team.



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 4 2010

Time: 9:52AM

Your Comments

I'd get past the Liverpool game then give him a rest, we really need 4-6 points from the next two games.
Rocky7
It's a tough one. On one hand, I could see the sense in it, Nasri, Rosicky, Bendtner, Eduardo and Walcott all seem to be fit for Sunday at the moment, so the option is there. However, though on one side you could say we need someone to put more of a shift in to nullify Chelsea, their defence is still pretty handy too and we might just need that moment of brilliance he is capable of. Perhaps he could best produce that as a late substitute? Tere again, given the respective performances of Nasri and Rosicky on Sunday, anythign close to a repeat display from either would see us looking more toothless than a tortoise's anus.
Little Dutch
"earned a break", he's a footballer, paid to play football. That notion's boring, how many players were rotated when we got to the semis in FA Cup, won the league, semis in league cup & quarters in CL? And what exactly would we be resting him for? The run in? Pah!
shewore
Reality is that the physical demands of football are higher than they've ever been. That's why we get so many supporters bleating about squad size and depth. I rather feel that Arshavin's playing style is more suited to CL football than the PL in which case a 100% fit player might be more useful for that challenge than one struggling to overcome a foot injury when we have other players capable of doing just as good a job in the PL.
Amos.
Well he's only got 2 competitions to worry about now, resting him for Chelsea/Liverpool is bordering on ridiculous.
shewore
Not if someone else is capable of doing a better job at the present.
Amos.
I think that's a rather simplistic look at it SW. You're right that he's paid to play football .... but if he's playing injured then using your stance there will come a time when he missies more games through injury because of the refusal to accept that football do need to rest.
Rocky7
Not when we've got 2 massive games coming up in the context of the league. Him and Cesc are capable of truly world class moments, we need him on the pitch for Chelsea at least. Amos - like who? Arsh gets my respect for playing on injured, as well as Gallas. Get the impression that other players that aren't 100% are **** scarred of stepping onto the pitch.
shewore
Arshavin is capable of producing world class moments but in all honesty we haven't seen too much of that this season. We seem to be picking him on what we think he might be able to do not on what he is doing at the moment. Reality is that Eduardo has produced more than he has so I'd go with Eduardo on the left if Bendtner is playing up front.
Amos.
Arshavin could definitely do with a rest - if only to let him heal up. We haven't seen his rocket shots in a while, and this might be because of his foot injury. Although I definitely see shewores point - the next two games are massive, and we need all the big game players we can get. If AA is up for it, get him on the pitch, we can rest him during the run in.
Gunnerman
Eduardo looks an absolute shadow, he's lost whatever pace he's had. Out of interest - who were his assists against, wouldn't be surprised if they were against the sides in the lower half of the league? I've seen no brilliance from him this year but some from Arshavin, this is what we'll need against Chelsea.
shewore
From memory, two of Ed's asissts were in the away match at Bolton, one for Denilson against Everton in the last month. All were quite handy assists, particualrly the oen two he played with Cesc at Bolton. I can see the point, most of his assists have come from quick touches in the area with his back to goal.
Little Dutch
I think his others were earlier in the season, one a great piece of wing play to set up Diaby v Pompey, one similar to set up Rv v Olympiacos and one against Wigan when his shot hit Eboue and went in.
Little Dutch
I miss that memory during the week when i don't have encylopaedic people to draw on face to face! My point isn't as rigid as a couple would like to see it as, just can't believe we're whispering about resting Arshavin half way through 4 of the biggest games of the season.
shewore
I have to be honest, if I were picking the team I wouldn't rest him for this one, I don't think Wenger will either. Eduardo hasn't overly impressed me, though I can see the point that he has been creating chances for team mates which is something RvP was doing regularly. It's the same for any team, if Drogba were out for 3 months, how would they replace his power? With Sturridge and Kalou? If Rooney were out, who would United look to? (Try and keep a straight face when you say 'Owen.' It's almost impossible. Like trying to keep your eyes open when you sneeze).
Little Dutch
If he had the pace in the first place he'll recover it. It doesn't matter too much who Eduardo's assists were against (but LD was the man to come up with the answers) because the more relevant stat is that Arsh isn't even getting them against the lower teams and Eduardo is creating more goal attempts overall. Arshavin may well come up with something brilliant against Chelsea. We'll have to hope he does because his more usual level of contribution this season isn't going to take us too far.
Amos.
Disagree re the pace completely, why is it a forgone conclusion that he'll get it back? He was hardly lightening in the first place but lately he's been running like an old man. Nah that's a fair point Little Dutch, just gotta get on with though haven't we, like all the faarkin time.
shewore
Because the pace picks up with match fitness and he is at an age where his athletice prowess can still show improvement. Eduardo's game is more about intelligence than pace but right now Arshavin seems as jaded of mind as anything else. There are good reasons why you would pick Arshavin but right now he isn't being picked on his performances.
Amos.
I think if I was the opposite team's defence, I'd be happier to see Edu's name on the sheet than Arshavin's, but I see the point you're making, Amos.
ChaosTeaCup
Maybe that's the case most of the time, not necessarily after having your leg snapped in half, and he without doubt "looks" a lot older on the pitch these days. Much older than 26 at least.
shewore
i would definately keep him in for the next two game (maybe on the bench for l'pool) and then give him a proper rest after that
DBerg
And by the way, if we're comparing league stats, Eduardo has 4 assists to Arshavin's 3 and as has been mentioned in goals there's no comparison.
shewore
The scoring stats dont tell the whole story though Amos. Of Eduardos 3 goals one was a huge deflected freekick against Portsmouth which barley counts as his goal, the one at Hull from 2 yards out were 3 arsenal players were waiting to tap in a Diaby pass and he almost he almost misssed and the 6th goal against everton(1st game of the season) where an Arshavin shot hits the post and he taps in the rebound. You could argue a goal is a goal but he has missed quite a few others which should of been certainties and overall has not quite found his form this season. Arshavin all day for me. Rest him after the Liverpool game if need be
paul_ownz
Sorry if it does not read too well. Using a phone to type sucks.
paul_ownz
Those aren't the assist stats shown on the official Premier Leaugue site which has Eduardo at 5 and Arshavin at 2. You're right paul, there is always something behind the stats but you are also right in that a goal is a goal. It doesn't matter how it goes in against Chelsea as long as some one is doing something to make it go in and Eduardo has more shots on target for time played that Arsh does.
Amos.
It's not entirely fair to say that there is no comparison between Arshavins scoring record and Eduardo's. Again you need to take into account playing time but Eduardos 6 goals in all competitions in 16 starts is comparable to Arsh's 9 in 25 starts. Also Eduardo has scored 3 times in the last 9 outings and Arsh just once.
Amos.
Taken into account prem league goals Amos, as i clearly caveated. Ownz, you're spot on about the goals mate, remember at the time thinking he nearly missed it. I think there's a bit of romanticism associated with him getting injured costing us the league - it didn't - and absence making the heart grow fonder n all that, he wasn't a world beater before he was injured, but was growing in the goal scoring role and lethal in front of goal, now he looks anything but.
shewore
I did say you need to look not just at goals shewore but at the all round contribution too but even if you look only at goals Eduardo has scored 3 time against PL opposition in the last 9 games and Arsh just once. The reality is that the only justification for picking Arshavin at the moment is on reputation - what we hope he might do but on current form probably won't. Having said that I believe he'll probably play on Sunday and I hope then that this is the game in which he does produce.
Amos.
Wenger nearly always picks players on reputation, which in my mind is dangerous. As soon as you're fit, you're back in the team, and you know there's no one really breathing down your neck if you don't perform.
shewore
Everyone can have their personal opinion, but in this type of match where things will be tight and you might need a bit of magic i would have to say Arshavin every time. He may be in effective for large parts of the game but do something out of the blue which only someone like him coul do. The run against Villa springs to mind, or the goals Man United & Liverpool. He is also more likely to dribble past someone than Eduardo & he more confident too.
paul_ownz
I'd have to say, I actually agree with that. The best example I can think of was 1997-98 when Manninger played out of his skin but Seaman came straight back in. I think he should have persisted with Manninger for a few games more, even if only to see how he coped with the pressure of fending Seaman off whilst also reminding Seaman he wasn't invincible. Healthy competition. Instead, Seaman went straight back in and you have to empathise with Manninger because it killed his confidence, it would be impossible to keep your confidence if you came into the team thinking, "It literally doesn't matter what I do, I'm just gonna get dropped again."
Little Dutch
he did the same in the champions league final with cashly - i always felt that flamini had earned the right to play in that match and should not have been dropped
DBerg
Depends on the position and player. If Henry was out injured for a few weeks and in that time Kanu scored 5 goals, i would still want Henry back for the big game. Although Flamini was solid in that run Ashley cole has an attacking threat and extremly quick. I would of played him in the final too.
paul_ownz
i dont know, with the way arshavin played against united in terms of how many chances he created, i think it would be smart to keep him in the XI at least against chelsea and pool. then give him a rest against some of our easier opponents because after those two matches we will know if we have any hope of coming 1st in the PL
rocky_da_best
I see Eduardo is out for the game on Sunday anyway! It seems this season it is fated that the decisions are made for us.
Amos.
Wonder if Wenger's gonna express his confidence in Vela by giving him a space on the bench
shewore
Vela is out too shewore - knee problem
nikolaijns
Never mind. I've always thought Arshavin was the best man for the job. :)
Amos.
Vela & Eduardo have had so many injuries this season. I understand Eduardo to an extent but is Vela made out of plywood?
paul_ownz
If it's a choice between Arsh and Eduardo, I'd pick the Arsh at the moment. Assuming Bendtner is fit enough to start up front against Chelsea, we need someone who can score, because for all Bendtner's qualities, he's hardly clinical. Eduardo just doesn't look like he could buy a goal at the moment. Arshavin can conjure a bit of magic out of nothing, and we'll need that to balance the more workmanlike qualities of Bendtner. One thing though, if Wenger starts with the paceless combination of Nasri and Rosicky on both wings, I might just have to burn my Arsenal shirt.
krismon1
I think that's exactly how he'll line up, Nasri and Rosicky with AA upfront. Still, in the build up to the Chelsea game last year, I suggested I thought van Persie should be dropped after a poor performance when we lost 3-0 to Citeh. I'm hoping Amos' article has the same effect with Arshavin!
Little Dutch
Aaargh! LD. Sometimes, these things work better, only when left unsaid (the paradox of the impact on results of your suggestion and Amos' article, that is). Well, now all the elements are aware and the team will have to work even harder to make something happen. My view is that Bendtner will start alongside Arshavin and Rosicky/Nasri, with Diaby waiting in the wings for a cameo appearance, late on. This will depend on whether Denilson starts, though. I expect a couple of drastic personnel changes.
Naijagunner
He is patently off form and is a shadow of what he was earlier.
denno4
dunno 4, maybe, just maybe its due to him being played in an unfamiliar position post VP's injury.
Deltaforce
Please dont play him,would do us a world of good.You do need him on the pitch,a half fit arshavin is better than anything.Wtf is up with Vermaelen? Why is he scoring so much? How many goals is he on? he must be the highest scoring CB in epl history.
Chelsea24/7
 

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