Andrey Arshavin has extraordinarily issued a ‘play me or I’ll leave’ warning to Arsene Wenger. The Russian midfielder, who has freely admitted in recent weeks that his performances since joining the club have not been good enough, is quoted as saying he currently feels glued to the bench. Well what exactly does he expect? When he first joined the club, Arshavin was a breath of fresh air, creating and scoring goals at will (netting four times against
Liverpool at Anfield is no mean feat!), however since those first few months, the standard of his performances has dwindled significantly as his position in the squad has transformed from star player to liability.
When he is selected to play, he simply doesn’t look interested and doesn’t contribute anything to the team. His passing is wayward as he often loses possession far too easily and he hardly ever tracks back to help the team with its defensive duties. With him on the pitch, Arsenal are effectively a man down. Although you have to admire the candid nature of his interviews, as he recognises his performances must improve, we are still yet to witness this improvement. Supporting Arsenal these past few years has been extremely frustrating at times, but the sight of Arshavin surrendering possession, then sitting on the pitch for what seems an eternity has to be one of the most infuriating images I can think of. Yet this is the same player who scored those four memorable goals at Anfield, who scored the winner against
Barcelona in that famous 2-1 victory and who terrified Bolton (albeit briefly) in the recent Carling Cup win. He therefore remains an enigma. One thing is for sure, if he wants to spend more time on the pitch than on the bench, he has to earn it through hard work and not issue ridiculous ultimatums. After all, on recent form, there aren’t many Arsenal fans who would shed a tear were he to leave.