Arshavin arrives, speaks, changes his name


Good morning, I’m feeling rather cocksandwich-y this morning, so forgive me if I offend but pretty much the only benefit of getting up every morning at 4:30 and spending hours of my life writing a blog is that I get to say what I want. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to!

I completely understand the thrill that so many people are feeling right now; normally spendthrift Arsenal, who have been on this youth project now for several years, who have suffered major injury blows to our best players, and who have fallen in to the darkness of a 5th place hole have suddenly seemed to have broken all their rules and signed a 27 year old creative player. Not only that, but this deal reportedly only cost Arsenal £10m, with incentives topping it up at £15m; a huge discount on a player who was so massively impressive in those two Euro 2008 matches against Sweden and Holland.

I could figuratively hear the collective sigh of relief when the deal was announced on the dot com. Arsenal had finally admitted that the season was in trouble, made a big buy, and the fans were relieved; now we can get our Champions League place back.

As for the player, he is undoubtedly a very talented young man. I have seen all the videos — sitting through hours of shitty music (kids these days) to see the same dozen or so career highlights mixed with different runs, dribbles, passes, and steals. And as I have repeated more often than Arsene Wenger says “like a new signing” I believe that Arshavin can add width, dribbling, vision, and most importantly, the ability to stretch defenses in ways that Arsenal currently cannot.

So I understand the optimism, I really do. After all, you can’t spell “optimism” without “tim.”

But rather than throwing myself wholly into hoping Arshavin will save the season, I’m cautiously optimistic. In fact, I’m looking at this as a long term signing rather than as a signing who will have a huge impact this season.

First, he hasn’t played competitive football since December 10th, when he was substituted at half time and watched from the bench as his team was demolished 3-0 by Real Madrid in the Champions League. That was two months ago, folks. It will be at least two months before he’s up to the level that current EPL players are playing at: that’s April before we can expect to see him at his highest level, physically.

That’s just training, on match days he’s going to have to overcome the fact that he’s a foreigner and a noob: refs aren’t going to give him near the protection he receives in Russia as a national hero. In addition to the hard tackles and physical play, the EPL plays at a pace that Arshavin has never experienced and he’s going to be expected to run more and faster than he’s ever run before. If that weren’t enough, by the time he’s at the height of his physical readiness, and just getting acclimated to the pace and physicality of the EPL, he’s going to be competing with Theo Walcott, Thomas Rosicky, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, and Cesc Fabregas, players who are EPL ready, for a spot on the team.

He’s got a lot to overcome — and I haven’t even mentioned all of your expectations.

In his interview with the dot com, he said he wanted to play on Sunday and I’ve heard some supporters already hoping that he could come on against Spuds, but that is utterly unrealistic. This is a player who hasn’t played in two months and who only sporadically participated in Zenit’s pre-season. It’s a pipe dream to think that he would even come on briefly, after what, one practice? He’s good, but he’s not Jesus, or Zidane.

As Jonathan Wilson put it in his interview at Arsenal.com

He has kept himself fit but he did not play in any of Zenit’s three pre-season friendlies. It’s a long time since Arshavin played a match so we should be very cautious not to expect too much too soon.

But the flipside of that is if Arsenal can cling on and are still in the hunt come March, they suddenly get Arshavin finding fitness and their injured players back, that could be a real boost.

So, I don’t expect Arshavin to come on Sunday against Spuds, nor against Cardiff on the 16th. He is cup tied so he won’t play against Roma (unless Arsenal can somehow pull a Chelsea) so, I expect Arshavin to get his first run out for the first team against Sunderland — the game I will be attending — 70th minute, Arsenal up 1-0, Theo Walcott comes off and Andrey Arshavin comes on. That’s what I see happening.

For this season, my cautiously optimistic opinion is that given all the things counting against him, if we get the same level from Arshavin that we have gotten from Nasri, we should count ourselves as lucky. Anything more than that is icing on the Russian tea-cake.


21 Responses to “Arshavin arrives, speaks, changes his name”

  1. 1 john
    February 4, 2009 at 7:41 am

    good article. I agree with the time he’ll take to adjust… however, I think he will have an impact this season and we should see him give us a much needed boost for the last month and a half which is at a crucial time and he might just be the margin of a champions league spot for us!

  2. 2 T-Town Alex
    February 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

    You guys are wrong. His left small toe is better than Pele and Maradona’s combined 20 toes. He will come on against Spurs and score 23 goals in 23 minutes. It will be a record. And all the snow will melt within 23 miles of the Emirates.

  3. 3 KeviN
    February 4, 2009 at 8:04 am

    he seems a bit fat on this picture…isn’t it ?

  4. 4 GoonerVance
    February 4, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Doesn’t he seem so much like Hleb. Just a grown wonder kid. Yeah, maybe he’ll take a while to get EPL fit, but maybe growing up playing football in Russian winters is enough conditioning to last a lifetime.

  5. 5 Anita way
    February 4, 2009 at 8:25 am

    With the trend in the team, i think Arshavin will make a huge difference.Can’t wait to see a new arsenal.

  6. 6 Eoinsers
    February 4, 2009 at 8:30 am

    The Sunderland game is on the 21st of Feb. Walcott won’t be able to play till at least the 5th march at the earliest. I also don’t think Rosicky will play again this season in fact he’ll be lucky to ever play again by the sounds of things. So Arshavin will have plenty opportunity to hold down a place.
    Also Arsenal’s predictions of when players will be back are always too optimistic. Eduardo was supposed to be back before christmas.

  7. 7 jude
    February 4, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Having read your remarks on his match readiness i can tell you are not a real gooner. A player,prodigy like arshavin wont need to ‘ready’ himself for any competitive games in EPL. He is always ready with his massive talents. Physique wise i think he has advantages which will just fit him straight into EPL games. Short but strong players like him competing against tall rough players just gives him advantage in his pacy runs. Why nobody can catch Lionel Messi when he burst into the box? he is fast and he is short. He can literally run under the huge bodies of defenders in EPL. Imagine a 6ft 3 and a 5ft 8….the 5ft 8 can run under their armpits. I know what it’s like to defend a short and fast player like arshavin coz i play football myself. Big frames of the big players cant hold them up coz the shorter ones can just slip through you before you can even have body contacts. Look at his lower body, firm solid build and powerful legs to run pass defenders.

    • 8 Tim
      February 4, 2009 at 10:38 am

      Hey Jude, don’t be a wanker
      Take your bizarre post and stick it in your stanker
      Remember, that what you do in your dreams
      It only seems to be real-er.

  8. February 4, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Jeez, Tim, don’t be such a poop-stain. Arshavin’s going to be friggin’ fantastic right out of the gate.

  9. February 4, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Last post here. I’m off to GoonerTalk. I’ve been getting headaches reading white text on dark gray background. Good luck. Love the content.

  10. 11 Vincent Toolit
    February 4, 2009 at 9:41 am

    You guys what are you talking about???? if he can’t play now until the sunderland game them why did we sign him? we should have waited until end of the current campaign to sign him. I trust AW will deploy him immediately in order to boost confidence in our young stars and save our season. he is a star player and doesnt need too much time to prove his worth.

  11. 12 barnaby
    February 4, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Quite like the white on black myself, bit of a contrast. Anyways, Tim, i believe it is correct to be moderate in expectation here, he probably won’t play against spuds but i’d be very cool if he did, and no we can’t expect referre protection mate, our referees are shyte man, look what they’ve done to us? They are the objects of scorn and ridicule only. They should be required to wear clown suits with a bullseye on their backsides so we’s can toss at them anything hard as we like legally. To be ridiculed and abused is their basic job description mate. Anyways, back to arshie he’s an important piece of the puzzle that’s been missing but yeah just one piece, he’ll be needed healthy for the rest of the season so he should be eased in. i think our squad is about 75% there in terms of where we ultimately want to be.

  12. 13 barnaby
    February 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Vincent, it will depend on his fitness mate, we really don’t know what to expect there, a cameo role at the end v spuds would be nice, but you know wengers a man of principles and quite conservative with new players.

  13. 14 Vincent Toolit
    February 4, 2009 at 10:17 am

    barnaby, true it would be nice to see him at the last quota of the 90mins against spuds.just hope Wenger will not decide against that going by his principles.

  14. 15 Bull
    February 4, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Jude, your talking through your arse, if he hasn’t played for nearly 2 months, then he won’t be fit. As for your failure to defend against small players perhaps you should drop down to the under 9 year olds. The 11 year olds are obviously too good for you.

    Good article Tim!!!!

  15. 16 shaun
    February 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Good article Tim. It will be interesting to see how Wenger does deploy Arshavin. I reckon Wenger would have seriously analysed the ability of Arshavin to perform immediately on arriving at Arsenal and knowing how Wenger relies so much on stats, I believe he would have bailed out on the transfer if he felt Arshavin couldn’t make an impact straight away.

    If Wenger doesn’t play Arshavin over the next few weeks – even if only from the subs bench, I would be Gobsmacked. But time will tell…. Anyways, at the very least, I reckon arshavin will galvanise the emirates crowd and seriously bring them back in line behind the Arsenal. If this doesnt motivate the team, nothing will!

  16. 17 T-Town Alex
    February 4, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I forgot this: Not only will Arshavin score 23 goals in 23 minutes against Spurs, he will keep it going and do this in 23 straight games. It will be a record. And 23 russian birds will sing for 23 straight minutes.

  17. 18 Anonymous
    February 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    The English Premier League is known to be the toughest in terms of pace, physicality and frequency of matches compared to other leagues. Some comments which I have read mentioned that Arshavin is quite small physically and coming from a different league, he may struggle. But I beg to differ because many players had proven this theories to be wrong.(*Overmars and Zola are some of the fine examples)Given time, I believe Arshavin will adapt himself to the pace and physical aspect of the English game. I may further add on to say that he could be a Premier League Star.His skill, creativity, vision and eye for goal will surely overcome whatever shortcoming in the beginning. Nothing can replace these qualities.

  18. 19 caribkid
    February 4, 2009 at 4:39 pm


    Lets not get carried away with this acquisition. If Arsene had brought in Arshavin and Alonso in the Summer we would not be in this predicament and therefore have to expect miracles from a mere mortal.

    Yes, he is world class.

    Yes, he fits the Arsenal mold perfectly.

    Yes, he should be a great acquisition unless he pulls a Reyes.

    No, he is not God.

    Will he contribute this season, Yes, barring injury. Just don’t expect miracles right off the bat. It will take time for him to get match fit, it will take time for him to synchronize with the players around him and it will take time to get accustomed to the EPL pace.

    I love his confidence though and that’s an excellent sign. I also hope Arsene doesn’t push him out on the wing because he doesn’t play defense and loves to attack centrally. He is a lot like Luka Modric who struggled for a while to adapt, albeit playing for the Spuds with their carousel of players, managers and coaches.

    Give the lad time and he should shine.

  19. 20 Jet Pinoy Gooner
    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Before we think of how and when he will be added by Arsene, we have to wait for the reply of FA to the inquisiton of Villa on the date that Arshavin was transferred. If anybody can have an inside info or have the rules of the Tranfer window in detail specially the part when it is about to close will really help.

  20. February 5, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    We need to be patient and wait 2 weeks for him to get match fit as reported by arsenal.com:

    Do you expect the timing of the Russian League to affect how quickly Arshavin settles at Arsenal?

    “It could be a problem for him. He hasn’t played football since November so I think it will be a good two or three weeks before we see him start to come through. Arsenal fans need to be aware that this could be a player for next season and not necessarily this season.

    “It’s very easy to assume that, because Arsenal have injuries to Walcott, Fabregas and Rosicky, that Arshavin will fit in immediately and add a creative spark. But there’s a good chance he won’t have an instant impact because the Russian League ended in November and he didn’t really play at his best just before that.

    “He has kept himself fit but he did not play in any of Zenit’s three pre-season friendlies. It’s a long time since Arshavin played a match so we should be very cautious not to expect too much too soon.

    “But the flipside of that is if Arsenal can cling on and are still in the hunt come March, they suddenly get Arshavin finding fitness and their injured players back, that could be a real boost.”

    Source: http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-arshavin-really-is-a-very-special-talent-

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