Arshavin’s New Deal A Test Of Wenger’s Loyalty

So the biggest non-crisis to hit football is over, Wayne Rooney is staying at Manchester City, sorry, United and football wins. Quite how football wins is beyond me; United did not stand firm and tell him to ‘do one’, instead rewarding his petulance with a new contract. Which was probably agreed well before this manufactured shenanigans took place, a club in dire straits perceptionally, suddenly finds positive PR through re-signing their only star player.

Whilst I see the parallels with Cesc in terms of a major club losing their star player, the Arsenal captain was looking to return home in the summer, to a club which he had supported as a youngster, for betterment professionally. With Rooney, the whole charade has the stench of personal gain, financially and personally through PR. Nothing more, nothing less; yes indeed, football was a clear winner here. And the media fell for the spin, hook, line and sinker.

Arsene, meanwhile, has spent time defending Andrey Arshavin. The Russian has been criticised for inconsistency this time around, lethargic against Birmingham mixed in with good performances elsewhere, notably Braga in the Champions League.

The Russian, I suspect, is that kind of player. We have seen many at Arsenal through the years and Arshavin will be no different, capable of the sublime and the ridiculous. Unfortunately, the latter is the stick with which he is beaten at the moment despite the statistics – damn you, statistics, damn you – showing that his performance in terms of the end result is already improved on last season.

In eight Premier League games thus far, Arshavin has netted twice, on course to match last season’s total of ten. He has already trebled his number of assists. Likewise in Europe, the goal tally of two already matches his efforts last time around whilst he is handily placed to at least equal his five of last season. But the consistency is a bug bear.

Of course this only indicates final product and not his contribution as a whole to the team. Yet one has to consider the constituency of the team when doing so. It is pointless saying that he has not yet similar heights, neither has the team, disrupted at a far earlier stage of the season by wholesale injuries that in 2009/10. Perhaps his outings in a team of similar constitution would be a better comparator?

Do we expect too much from him? Personally, I do not see Arshavin as a galvaniser, more a player capable of mercurial moments that win you matches through his own individuality as opposed to one who will motivate the team. In that sense, he is more a Marinello or Nicholas than a Fabregas.

Which is why Wenger is keen to renew the player’s contract. In keeping with the times, the Russian is reaching a point in his spell at the club where Arsenal decide to cash in or keep. In other words, halfway through a four year deal and this requires them to renegotiate or sell.

Something is very wrong in the state of football when this becomes the situation. The clubs held all of the power which was abused over numerous decades, the pendulum has now swung too far in the other direction, players similarly keen to extort the maximum clubs can afford and beyond that, as several have already been intent on proving this season.

Except it is not the case for all players, the priviledged few able to take advantage of these situations, the majority in the lower leagues less well rewarded.

Wenger wants players to be loyal, to give their full commitment to the final day of their contract, put in the effort. Yet I find that there is a contradiction in that. Arsenal will only reward a player who is useful to them, who will succeed in fulfilling a function. When they reach a certain age, the loyalty is not repaid evidenced by his treatment of over-30s, failing to give them substantial contracts in terms of time.

There is good reason to take that stance when the player is in his mid-30s and has less than a year or two until he seeks solace in the media. However, if the club wants loyalty as Wenger defines it, surely they have to offer it themselves? At least Wenger can argue that everyone knows his views before they join Arsenal.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 23, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. I still think Arshavin’s carrying a little extra weight gained over the Summer. In that regard maybe Russia appearing at the WC would have been a good thing, whereas we all thought the rest would have been better for him. It’s hard to think up a convincing case to make for Andre starting over the infinitely more hungry Rosicky on Sunday, the latter’s tenacity and hard work meant Shaktar couldn’t dwell on the ball for even a few seconds.

  2. Good point about the need for loyalty to swing both ways, YW.

    However, the club’s interest balances the interest of that 1 player, the entire squad, squad strengthening, the fans and the club’s financial position.

    The player is only in it for himself.

    While Wenger might move loyal players on, he would usually move them on at a time when they can move for more money (Vieira, Henry, Pires, Cashley, Adebayor, Kolo, Flamini, etc etc) or move them on because their level is lower than the club’s and the time spent at Arsenal would count already to their gain. Justin Hoyte, Aliadiere, Muamba, Larsson to be examples.

  3. The problem with Arshavin isn’t going forward. It’s defending. Wenger’s 4-3-3 relies on fullbacks overlapping going forward thereby leaving spaces behind which are open to the counter. Arshavin in the side places significant pressure on the central mids to cover his spot when he’s off creating. I suspect that he’s more effective as a hole striker in a 4-4-2. In any event, Arsenal need a run of games out of the side to they can develop understanding of where they will all be on the field at any given moment. The real problem with all these injuries, aside from the loss of the player himself, is the loss of the cohesiveness that results from a new player and his “stuff” moving into the side. The rest of the side then adapts to what the new guys is going. The good news shown the other night is that Rosicky seems to be a like for like replacement for Arshavin. Arshavin offers more going forward and is more of a threat.

    This will be a very interesting game on Sunday. I would be surprised to see Adebayor get the call. It would play into Arsenal’s hands if so, opening the game up significantly. It would be far more like Mancini to play a five man midfield, play the counter, and put Adebayor on only if a goal was needed.

    Wilshere’s a big miss. I suspect that Wenger will play Diaby to cope with what will be a very combative midfield. Nasri looks dangerous as did Cesc and Chamakh. Arshavin is the wild card. He’s a big game guy. Let’s hope he plays like it. His quote about performing magic was interesting. Someone ought to remind him that it wasn’t he magic that made his goals magical. It was the simplicity with which he scored the goals.

  4. I believe the club’s policy will change when many of our current players hit 30 from this coming up squad… the philosophy shifted 5 years ago to investing in the youth crop… I find it hard to believe the club will sell them after all this work.

  5. unrelated but a few years ago a spurs player (black) cant remember name threw himself on the ground in one of the worst dives ive ever seen and got a penalty can anyone tell his name and the opponents

  6. Didier Zokora is the player your looking for against Portsmouth.

  7. Arshavin is lazy i prefer Rosicky over him. AA is a curse when we a defending set pieces i remember we conceded two goals because of him we cleared the ball and the ball was passed to him instead of counter attacking he made a back pass which was unexpected and the latest one he passed the ball to Wilshere the boy panicked and he lost the ball and we conceaded! How i hate him but i miss AA who scored 4 against Liverpool.

  8. After all that drama Shrek decides to stay in the swamp anyway. This storm in a tea cup has been stirred up by the media spin and Rooneys imability to resolve his disputes internally. It confitmed everything I thought about Rooney…overpaid, arrogant, tw@t. No one has left this with any credibilty and its ridiculous that United have rewarded Rooney for his ill timed rants. I couldnt see Wenger putting up with,this player power stuff. Diarra went as soon as he started moaning. Gallas was relieved of the captaincy once he started criticising the team. Kolo and Ade were shipped out.

    Arshavin is definitely an enigma, capable of the sublime and ridiculuos, a geniune match winner with the temperament to match. I suspect the best of Arshavin is yet to come and it may have taken him a while to adjust to a role where he is no longer the fulcrum of the team and playing in a free role as we have seen when he was at his peak with Zenit and Russia in Euro 2008, he was virtually a one man express train. Playing wide out on the wing rigidly certainly restricts his game but as with Nasri who is playing out of his preferred position there appears to be method to Wengers madness and some of Arshavins best work has come from out wide. I agree with The Rookie, he may not be physically at his peak and tracking back isnt one of his strength but these things can be worked on.

    I think Man City will aim to stiffle our passing game by packing the midfield with bodies and try to make this a dour affair. As always City will be looking to hit us on the break. If it becomes conjested in the midfield I suspect wenger will use Bendtner and Chamakh at the top in the latter stages plus Diaby from midfield with an aerial bombardment from the Theo and Arshavin on the wings. And they said we had no plan B.

  9. How many clubs will be around in 100 years time? the way these footballers are taking as much money from the clubs as they can i can see loads going out of business. Rooney is going to kiss that fukin badge isnt he when all he has done is bled them dry of even more money even though the club is up to its eyes in debt,,very fukin loving that is. I fukin hate the way football is going. gets worse every fukin year. I hope england fail to qualify coz Rooney n co dont fukin deserve it.

  10. How anyone can blame Rooney for grabbing money from Manu is beyond me. The Glazers are doing exactly the same, surely no one thinks they’re in it for the love of football? It’s simple, Manu has to be in the Champions League for the Glazer’s business model to work. They need the cash flow for paying the interest on their loans and the long term value of the club. They’ll want to sell the club in a few years time for a hefty profit. I’m sure they weighed the pros and cons of paying Rooney a sh!tload/cashing in on him and costs of buying new players. Good on Rooney I’d say for screwing them for any penny he can get.

  11. Well Duke, you’ve changed your tune.

    I remember last year when many of us were stating our disgust with the current England ‘crop’ and how we couldn”e support them, you asked us, and I was impressed, that why should a few twats take away your right to support your national team?

    Welcome to those who could sign ourselves ‘Disgusted’ if we ever wrote a letter to the Times about England.

    As for Rooney, it was always about bragging rights for him. Patrick Barclay read it right. In that particular power struggle, Fergie was sidelined by a Utd desperate to hang onto their one ‘star’. They deserve each other. Better, Fergie has been shown the future in no uncertain terms. He isn’t top dog any more.


  12. I wish Arshavin would stop giving the ball away so much.

    I’ve never quite understood why players aren’t prepared to accept a rolling one year deal once they reach 30. Surely, they’re all millionaires by that stage anyway and set up for life. If they’re good enough , they’ll play and get another one year deal. It worked for Dennis after all.

  13. I’d like to congratulate Rooney’s agent. The football business is a world of sharks – starting with Sepp Blatter – and if you don’t eat you will get eaten. Nothing to be ashamed of. Who cares about Paul Gascoigne today and who will care about Rooney in 2030? Football is a short career and when its over its about the new star. Take care of number one. Professional football is not a vocation but a field dominated by ruthless bastards!

  14. I agree with C’Bob

  15. Bob this is true i did say that but fuck about it’s getting bloody hard to support these c*nts.

  16. Yogi, I have to slightly disagree with you – how many injured players have Arsenal supported and nursed back to health whilst paying them their huge salaries? The club could have offloaded many of them, but didn’t. Surely that counts for something? Also, the over 30 issue is overplayed. We all know the reason for that policy. Players at that stage of their careers were on massive wages, we had a stadium to finance so we had to cash in on them while they still had value and still could get a good contract elsewhere. Arsene could have kept players as an ‘insurance policy’ but they might not have played much – he has let them go for their own sake at times (Gilberto) and let them go for free (Campbell) as well. I think he treats his players quite well under the circumstances. Hence why most of them have nothing but good things to say about him and the club after they leave.

  17. I find it impossible, Duke.

    I keep hoping for the other side to score and then feeling vaguely guilty. It’s not 1966 anymore or even 1986.

  18. I agree with CBob. They truly deserve each other. “Waynes wages” the movie. The whole affair over the last week seems to have a been manufactured charade from the start (which admittedly had most of us fooled. Well I was anyway!) to boost the fading fortunes of the “biggest club in the world”. It all leaves a horrible taste in the mouth and is surely a further blow for any credibility the Premiership has left. Ye gods. Watching this awful display of naked greed and cynicism makes me feel thankful I support Arsenal.

  19. I think Arshavin is the reason Clichy’s not looked so good for the past couple of years. Sagna has the luxury of knowing whoever’s in front of him down the right (Theo, Nasri, Bendtner, Rosicky) will track back and support him. Clichy doesn’t get that from AA. I think the people calling for Gibbs to replace the frenchman would discover exactly the same thing happens to him.

  20. Still Colleen and Wayne will be losing their child benefits under new regulations so maybe we shouldn’t begrudge the lad an extra few pounds in his pay packet. You have to think of the little ‘uns.

  21. A modern love story.

    Sir Rudolf: I love you. How about it?
    Scrooney: How much?
    Sir Rudolf: £100,000
    Scrooney: No way
    Sir Rudolf: 120?
    Scrooney: No
    Sir Rudolf: 140?
    Scrooney: No
    Sir Rudolf: 160?
    Scrooney: No
    Sir Rudolf: 180?
    Scrooney: No
    Sir Rudolf: How about 180 and I go on the telly and cry?
    Scrooney: OK. I love you. How do you want me?

  22. I think you are right Vince, Clichy is often horribly exposed when Arshavin plays ahead of him. Whereas on Tuesday he looked like his old self. It’s difficult because Arshavin can produce wonderful moments, but if we are on the back foot he does not consistently support his defender.

  23. That’s the thing Wenger must have to weigh up before every game Passenal, will I get Arsh the passenger or Arsh the passenger who’s goin to have a moment of genius that wins us the game? He’s scored such top corner belters against the likes of Liverplol and Utd before that I don’t think we can afford to leave him on the bench tomorrow.

  24. The tracking back is not my issue with Arshavin. His linking play is not Arsenal standards. The erratic play of Arshavin – unable to maintain possession of the ball, is preventing Clichy from making runs down the flank – as Arshavin is consistently losing possession of the ball.

  25. YW,

    I think you raise a very interesting question concerning loyalty between player/club. I’ve never been wholly confortable with the over 30’s policy but suppose the fact that Arsene offers them 1 year rolling contracts (if they can still perform) makes it a little fairer. I do imagine that if the manager makes an exception with one player (be it a Bergkamp, Henry or Pires), you would open yourself up to accusations of bias and that could possibly have even more negative repercussions.

    I also suppose that both parties to the contract need to be loyal to the club within the terms (time and conditions) of that contract. It’s not easy and I’m still a little uncomfortable but, as you say, the players all know the score when they sign to us.

  26. Only a spud could find a slow dirge version of ‘When the spuds go…’ inspiring or classy.

    Bloody awful.

  27. for somebody so tall crouch is absolute crap at header.He should watch J.Koller how to head the ball into the net when you are so tall or of course look at our own Chamack. Still for 8M they ve got a bargain in VDV

  28. Must feel weird for Gallas to have to play long balls from the back.

  29. There is no doubt that Arshavin is a lost soul when required to play defensive football. It does limit Clichy’s runs forward understanding that Arshavin cannot be counted on to cover defensively. Let us hope that the coaches sit on Arshavin to improve that part of his game.

  30. spud loose 2 point ,we need 3

  31. G4L:
    “I think Man City will aim to stiffle our passing game by packing the midfield with bodies and try to make this a dour affair. As always City will be looking to hit us on the break. If it becomes conjested in the midfield I suspect wenger will use Bendtner and Chamakh at the top in the latter stages plus Diaby from midfield with an aerial bombardment from the Theo and Arshavin on the wings. And they said we had no plan B.”

    I think the key man tomorrow will be Diaby. If he penetrates through the middle like Blackpool’s Adams did last week, it will cause them some headaches.

  32. how can anyone expect AA to run back and defend all the time have you seen how fu*ked he gets just attacking!!!

  33. I would really not be sad to see Rosicky in there instead of Arshavin. I love Rosicky’s game and there is never a lack of effort from him on the pitch.

    Remember last year when Rosicky came on late against Shitty and gave us a spark we had been missing the entire game…I would love to see that again.

  34. I agree that Diaby will be incredibly important for us. He MUST be decisive this game though. He played some fantastic stuff last week, but did not have the confidence to be decisive in key areas…COYG!

  35. Viceologist I am with you! I cannot understand why Rosicky should not start ahead of Arshavin. He is the more inform player.

  36. Yes, Rosicky is special. I really love how he, when he loses the ball, will even run half the pitch to get it back with one of his perfectly timed tackles.

  37. how about 2morrow we suprise the hell out of everybody and hit some long balls.

  38. The difference in Clichy when Rosicky plays in front of him instead of AA is enormous. Song this season hasnt come over to protect him too, which is another problem. His being double teamed by the opposition and I don’t know weather arshavin can’t defend or he just can’t be bothered to do it properly.

    I really tip my curls to him, considering his situation he really is the best left back in the league!!

  39. Also I must say that JET out shone my Carlos in the recent reserve game absolutely amazing scored a hat-rick, it really was man against boys.

  40. From the BBC:
    “Ultimately, Spurs continued to enhance the reputation they are fast building as one of the most entertaining teams in the Premier League as their posse of creative midfielders lit up a riveting first half. ”
    With the political events of the week, is this Armageddon upon us?

  41. God help us MDGunner. After all a botched cross from Crouch was tapped in by Van der Fart and Spurs will dominate the world!

    I have been impressed by Diabys performance s in the last few games he virtually owned the park and ran through everything that chelsea n birmingham threw at him. His powerful driving runs will help pumell opposition into touch. Looking forward to the game.

  42. I am actually worry about playing Diaby tomorrow because he might try to dribble one too many opposition player and lose the ball for Al City to counter attack. Tevez is damn good in counter attack. His never give up attitude might cause Djouru to commit stupid mistake. Our front line need to be more clinical. Need to score at least 3 goals to win the match. Praying that Fab4, AA & Risicky to score…

  43. Expected Line-Up for Today:

    Fabianski, Sagna, Clichy, Squillaci, Djourou, Song, Diaby, Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, Chamakh

    Subs. Szczesny, Eboue, Gibbs, Denilson, Walcott, Rosicky, Bendtner

    Just look at how deep that bench is! It almost makes you forget we’re missing 4-5 starters.

  44. west brom play some fantastic f*cking football

  45. Today’s preferred line up:

    Sagna, Squil, Djou, Cliche (until Gibbs is back to full fitness!)
    Fab2, Diaby
    Nasri, Rosicky

    I think Walcott could come on for the last 30 mins (more likely 20 mins) and that Diaby and Denilson could be switched if we’re up in the last 20.

    As I’ve been saying, if we are clinical, I predict a 1-3 victory and joyous night. The win is important to reduce the 8 point gap with Chelski.


  46. Somehow I’m not too worried about Man city. They don’t present the potent attacking threat that chelsea do. They’ll play as usual with their 4-5 DMs. And they’re not so quick and deadly on the counter anymore. The only slight concern would adebayor and the curse of the ex-player. Heaven knows just how motivated he’ll be for this if he’s selected.

  47. I was wrong. Not 1-3 but 0-3.


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