Arshavin’s Efficiency Replicated By Theo For England
Theo Walcott had a half-decent game for England last night, as the much-vaunted move to 4-2-3-1 passed the nation by once more, Capello’s devotion to 4-4-2 unshakeable. And with a four goal victory, who is to say that the formation was not appropriate for the occasion. Not me. England did what they do well: win qualifying games.
Walcott had a decent game but once more his attributes were underused by his team-mates. Playing possession football is exactly what should have happened in South Africa but the distribution forwards was too ponderous in the first half. Rapid passing and movement in the second created the spaces that Walcott can exploit, an encouraging sign for Theo even if he was not always the option chosen.
In general he has been well-received in the media and leaving Alan Hansen increasingly isolated in his lunacy. Which is no bad thing.
Self-evaluation is a regular occurrence for Arsenal players these days. Andrei Arshavin (thanks to Desi Gunner for the link) has observed that he is more ‘direct’ in his play, losing some of the flamboyance of his Zenit days. There is an element of truth in that and to be honest in an attacking sense if his effectiveness means playing simpler, quicker passes there is no problem with that.
The expectation placed on his shoulders by supporters is of a regular goalscorer and he has now scored two in three games. No argument there, the penalty against Blackpool of no less value than the goal at Ewood Park in that respect. Consistency in front of goal is the ideal but like a great number of his positional peers, goals come in spurts, scoring in three or four consecutive games and then nothing for another dozen. In Arsenal’s formation, he could do with a higher return, aiming for fifteen Premier League goals each season would not be unrealistic.
The Russian observed he has not scored ‘a really beautiful’ goal during his time in England. Whilst that may be true, it is a subjective matter and I would settle for him scoring of efficient finishes rather than two goals a season, both of which left you drooling. He is in a position where Arsenal has talent; the early signs of this season are that Tomas Rosicky is in good form, his fitness the question mark. The injury to Robin van Persie makes space for both of them with either able to play in the more advanced position although it perhaps suits Arshavin more.
Arshavin’s personal view was contradicted by Andrei Kanchelskis. A big criticism of the former Manchester United winger was his inconsistency; have a guess which aspect of Arshavin’s game he chose to pick on? If you need to phone a friend for the answer to that, go to the back of the classroom and put the big conical-shaped hat with a ‘D’ onto your head.
The faults found in the Arsenal player’s armoury are valid, it simply irks when a player who could not perform to that level consistently either, feels the need to find the same fault in others. In much the same way that Theo Walcott was castigated for not having a football brain by Chris Waddle before the World Cup. Mr Pot? Meet your neighbours, Mr Kettle and Mr Black.
Elsewhere, Arsene was cleared by the FA of any indiscretions in his criticisms of Stoke. It is a huge slap in the face for Tony Pulis, which is nice, serving to reinforce the points Wenger made. According to the authorities, the Arsenal manager did not transgress as he failed to mention Chris Foy by name, even though it was obvious he was referring to him. Unlike Sir Alex Ferguson, it shows nous in bending the rules to your advantage whilst the Manchester United manager continues to deplete the coffers at Old Trafford with his ban on speaking to the BBC. If the Scot had half a brain, he would talk to them and be monosyllabic in his answers, look bored and be generally disinterested. Like most other managers.