I was planning on writing a blog about the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham this coming Sunday, but my attention has been caught by the sad departure of Arsenals number 23. As I write this BBC and Skysports have announced Arshavin has re-joined Zenit St Petersburg on loan until the end of the season Arshavin rocked up at the Emirates in the ultimate last minute transfer deadline deal back in January 2009, joining from Zenit St Petersburg. At the time Arsenal were in their usual slump and their place in the top four looking increasingly under threat.
Arsene needed a signing that would lift the side, lift the fans and kick on with the second part of the season, up step the little Russian. Andrey turned up with this reputation of being a magician who could create chances for the team out of nothing. And he didn’t disappoint giving us some memorable moments, most notably the four goals in a 4-4 draw against Liverpool.
I remember that match well, despite being pegged back, it never felt like dropped points, it was magical experiencing that performance. But Arshavin’s laid back can’t be asked attitude and his unwillingness to run didn’t sit well with some fans. Soon afterwards the honeymoon was well and truly over, he was no longer a first name on the team sheet, and rarely someone you could call upon when you needed a moment of magic to turn a game. Despite the increasing calls to sell the Russian from the fans, Arsene stuck with his man, arguing his case with Andrey’s stats, and you have to hand it to Wenger, Arshavin’s stats are comparable with “top” players.
In total he scored 30 goals in 132 appearances for Arsenal, creating 35 assists. Not bad for a player many thought “wasn’t trying”. Some point to the fact that he never played his favoured “Number 10” role, therefore lost interest in playing in a system where he wasn’t the centre of attention. Despite the calls for Andrey to be sold/dropped, I always had a soft spot for him, there was always that chance that at any moment he could change a game. There hasn’t been much to cheer about as an Arsenal fan recently, in fact for quite a while actually. But my last magical moment came courtesy at the feet of Arshavin as he smashed in the 2nd goal in the fantastic 2-1 win over Barcelona at The Emirates.
I met Andrey at an Arsenal open training day back in 2009, he is billed as 5ft 7in, let me tell you that is a huge lie, I’m a little over 5’5, but found myself looking down at our little Russian magician. So thanks for the memories Andrey, I genuinely hope you find your form again in Russia and become the player that we all know you can be. Now let’s beat Tottenham and kick start our season
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