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Will Arshavin stop us reaching the Champions League?


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by Sting

So the January transfer window is firmly shut. Can we be happy with the one new addition to our small, but successful squad? Certainly for £3.5million, fans, pundits and media alike seem more than satisfied that Emile Heskey will prove to be one of the best bits of business to come out of the January transfer window.

However, our closest rivals for that magical fourth place used their extended transfer window to sign Russian midfield maestro Andrey Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg for a reported £15million. Though other media reports suggest that the fee was much closer to £10million. Whatever the fee, I believe Arsenal and Wenger have just completed a very shrewd piece of business.

At Euro 2008, after starring in Zenit St Petersburg's 2-0 UEFA Cup win over Rangers, Arshavin was banned for three of Russia's group matches and Zenit did make it known in media circles that they were prepared to sell him for the right money. Our Martin was working as a pundit for the BBC during that tournament and I had hoped that he might have swooped for Arshavin before he even kicked a ball in Euro 2008. The fact he did not was due no doubt to Martin's seeming preference for proven British players in his Villa team and of course there was always the question of Arshavin being too lightweight for the Premiership?

Nevertheless, I believe Arshavin proved beyond doubt in the few games that he graced in Euro 2008 that he would be a fine acquisition for any Premiership team. I would have loved, nay begged, to see Arshavin in the claret & blue of a Villa shirt. Yes Martin would have had to change our system to accommodate Arshavin in the hole behind a single striker, but we have already played this season with Agbonlahor playing up front on his own due to injuries and Manchester United haven't exactly suffered with Wayne Rooney playing in the hole now have they?

So, the question is this, will Andrey Arshavin be our nemesis in our glorious attempt at grabbing a Champions League place from right under the noses of the usual Sky 4?

I sincerely hope not. It should take him some time to adopt to his new surroundings at the Arsenal and to the pace of the Premiership. He is far from match fit given the Russian calendar. I am however slightly worried that Wenger will get the best out of Arshavin right away, so I hope with our Messi back, Ash will supply our new signing Heskey with a glorious Indian Summer and score us all the way to Champions League qualification!

What do YOU think ?

Regards, Ciaran

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I think Arshavin is a very good fit for Arsenal. They are clearly going to miss fabregas badly for some time and Arshavin appears to me to fit quite nicely into that slot in their team. Whether that was their most pressing concern is another matter. I dont think they are seven point behind us because of the lack of Fabregas, they are trailing in our wake because as a team they lack power in midfield and defence (and now Adebayor is injured up front too). if you compare our midfield of Young, Petrov, Barry and Milner it might not be as technically accomplished as the Arsenal midfield, but as we have shown twice this season against them, there is more to football than playing tippy tappy around the other team's box hoping for an opening like a glorified West Brom. Arsenal have a real reputation for being very pretty, but very easy to play against. What they needed to do this window was address that,add some nastiness, some bite, some steel. They needed a new Paddy Vieira, they didnt get one, so no, I dont think the signing of Arshavin poses a threat to our position.

Could he have fitted in here? I think if we continued to play 4-5-1 then there would definitely have been a place for him slotted in behind the striker, but I cant really see who's place he would take in our side playing 4-4-2 .....

On a broader note, there is some concern about him as a player. not exactly a spring chicken, why had no-one heard of him before he dumped all over england a year or so ago? Was he also in the Zenit side beaten easily last season by everton, and in the russian side slaughtered by England? So that would be a very real concern were I Arsene Wenger... is he a flash in the pan?? Even if he's not, like I say, he's not really what the doctor ordered for Arsenal's woes, imo

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A big Irish welcome to Sled, Wedge and my old friend PB. You are right Sled that i do have a thing about Arshavin. I see him as the modern day Peter Beardsley and admire his technical ability on the ball. He, like Beardsley, can also score a goal or two and has an eye for a defence splitting pass! I do have a thing for flair players Wedge, but, i don't yet have a poster of Arshavin on my wall, but you never know?

Hi PB, thanks for your very considered comment. I don't think Arshavin played against Everton, but i would stand to be corrected on that. He did however, play against England and was fantastic for Russia in their home match, but didn't perform in the away match. Nevertheless, he was MOTM against Rangers in the UEFA Final! I totally agree with your opinion that Arsenal really needed a midfield enforcer, rather than another flair player which i hope will work to our advantage this season? I also agree with you that there might be some concern as to whether Arshavin will adapt to the pace of the Premiership? He would however be at home with our inclement weather!

Nevertheless, when a gifted player becomes available, still at the age of 27, who has the ability to turn a game by himself, then i believe you should go out and get him, if he fits into your team pattern, which you have also rightly commented on! Wenger has done this and with Arsenal's performance against Spurs, totally devoid of ideas and flair, i think Arshavin will be gracing our Premiership green fields, maybe, before full match fitness would allow! I just hope this little russian magician keeps his magic wand well hidded until, at the very least, next season! Regards, Ciaran.

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I potentially agree with you, one thing I trust will be in our favour is that in my own memory I cannot remember a player having transferred over from russia and becoming settled straight away. In fact the few that have settled have done so after nearly 6mths.

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Arshavin is good, but he's more of what they've already got in Nasri, Rosicky and Ramsey. It wasn't Peter Beardsley Arsenal needed, it was Terry Butcher and Bryan Robson.

Spot on.

Also, at Euro 2008 in the semi against Spain, Arshavin was entirely anonymous. I don't think he'll make much difference to be honest, and I wonder if the Premier League might prove too physical for him.

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I think it's too late in the season for him to adjust and make enough of an impact on his own to close the gap over the last 13 games.

Also, just wondering what that "By Sting" byline means in the original post. I assume that's not in reference to the former front man of The Police.

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Also, just wondering what that "By Sting" byline means in the original post. I assume that's not in reference to the former front man of The Police.

:suspect: It means that the article was written by Sting (aka Ciaran), not by me, I just posted it for him....

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Hi B-Dub. Many thanks for your comment all the way from New York. Whether it's too late in the season for Arshavin to make an instant impact, we will soon find out? Arsenal have now lost Adebayor to injury and Arshavin regularly plays as a second forward, so the temptation, i feel, will be too much for Wenger to resist playing Arshavin alongside, or just in behind Van Persie! The Arsenal fans will also want to see him as they haven't had much to cheer lately, have they?

Your assumption is also correct in my web name being a reference to the Policeman,as i am a massive fan. Sad yep and since my cover is now broken, i hope i don't have to repay all the royalities i have received?

Thanks also to BOF for his very short, but very funny comment!

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Given Wenger's obsession with fitness, and that Arshavin hasn't kicked a ball in anger since November 2008, it'll probably be a couple of weeks until he plays a full 90mins.

That would make it the Fulham game, and there's only 11 premiership games to go to make up the 7 point game, and they've got Man U, Liverpool and Chelsea to play. Also they've got Boro and Stoke towards the end of the season, and that's the time that bottom teams start to pick up points.

I think it's a lot for one little Russian to accomplish.

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i would of been more worried if they had signed upson and bullard, by the time arse shaving has got used to the PL way of playing it will be too late for the gooners to overtake us i feel.

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Bar Kanchelskis there has been no Russian / Ukrainian players that have succeeded in the Premiership.

Rebrov was made to look like a donkey even though he was in the same bracket as Shevchenko when he left Russia. Shevchenko, the greatest striker in the history of football, couldn't even pass to a player 5 yards away from him. Pavlychenko has scored 3 goals in 17 games... about the same rate as Shevchenko... Darren Bent has scored more in less appearances but no one is on his case.

Arseshavings might crack it in the Premiership, but history would suggest not. To crack it in the first 6 months when your wife has already come out and stated she hates London would be a tall order if every Russian player had succeeded in England... to try to acheive that with none really succeeded is practically nil. (I hope).

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i would of been more worried if they had signed upson and bullard

Hi Evel. I agree with the players you have chosen here which would have made Arsenal and indeed ourselves stronger! It may take time for Arshavin to ajust to the pace of the Priemership, but i think he is the type of player that may well fit into Arsenal's style of play faster than most people may think!

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