Against Ipswich, Arshavin picked up two assists. Here is what he said of his own performance,
It wasn’t a supermatch for me. But I’m satisfied with the result. I’m glad that I was useful to the squad.
I don’t think he could have said it any better even with the help of the best PR agents in the world. We all saw he didn’t have a great game. But he made a vital contribution. Both aspects are well covered with minimum words. That’s one of the things I love about Arshavin, his intelligence is not limited to on-field decision making.
More interestingly, I want to discuss this interview given by Arshavin. I couldn’t understand when, where, or to whom this interview was given but I liked the way he analysed his own game.
Speaking about his speed Arshavin said,
I do not have enough acceleration. From the very start of this season I felt that I’m fast enough only in short bursts.
I don’t know why. I still feel the same. Maybe I’m just getting old.
Furthermore he talks about his form and why it’s not working well for him,
When you are absolutely all right, you do not even think about what you are doing in certain situations. It all happens automatically.
But now when I get the ball, I begin to think, ‘Should I out-trick an opponent? Will I lose the ball?’ I am afraid of taking the initiative.
When such thoughts appear, your final decision as a rule turns out to be wrong and you waste a lot of opportunities.
I don’t have to explain those comments to anyone who has been following Arsenal’s games closely. And if you’ve played any sport, even at a decent amateur level, then you might have experienced this situation. I’ll be surprised if anyone can go years of playing without getting into this fix. You make one mistake, then while thinking about that you make another, soon the count rises, one loses belief, and mistrusts ones instincts. Once a doubt creeps in it can be a quick, self-propelling, negative spiral.
I guess this must have started when he missed some one-v-one opportunities in the earlier games. Over time it’s become a real form issue. Unfortunately, the fans haven’t really helped him get out of that rut.
Thankfully, Arshavin has been there and done that. He knows the way out.
I need to train and play. After a few good performances the courage and automatic decision-making are going to return.
Based on his last couple of performances we can be sure AA23 is trying hard.
I understand one complaint against Arshavin is that he is lazy or doesn’t work his socks off. That is an unfair and almost silly argument.
Different players have different physical levels and abilities. Song can run all day chasing players and making tackles. That’s his strength. He cannot score from an overhead scissors kick but the fans don’t boo him for that limitation, do they? Similarly, Theo can run at pace and terrorize defenders. That’s his skill. He cannot play keep ball when the team is under pressure. That’s not his game. We accept it.
Arshavin’s is not in the same League as Song or Sagna when it comes to fitness. That’s his weakness. Even when he was on top form he wasn’t a guy who chased back to help the full-back. But the fans accepted it because he delivered at the other end.
Now when he is having a rough time his weakness seems like a burden. In fact it is a burden. But it’s a burden that the team must, at times, carry. That’s the only way to get him back to the spectacular form that we know he is capable of.
Based on what I have seen on the pitch in the last two games the Russian has played and on those quotes above, I’m fairly certain Arshavin is trying his level best to perform. I’m also convinced that Arsene understands his situation. Le Boss must have seen all his top players go through such phases. He also knows Arshavin needs patience and support to get back to his best. We can see Wenger’s giving him that in an intelligent manner by keeping him out of the pressure games of the League and playing him against weaker teams.
I’m sure most fans who’ve been supporting the club for a long time have seen plenty of players go through such phases. Sadly, some fans tend to forget. It’s their weakness!
I think this process of getting back into form can be accelerated if the fans get behind the player. At the very least the supporters can do their part by avoiding the moans and groans. It’s up to the fans to decide whether they want a symbiotic or parasitic relationship. Arshavin is a huge talent and Arsenal will need him at his best very soon.