Date:Thursday February 4 2010
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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Date:Thursday February 4 2010
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