The boss had his press conference yesterday and he spoke about Andrei Arshavin among other things. He said that no other player in the Premier League has created as many goalscoring opportunities as Arshavin so far this season and added to that he has five goals to his name which leaves him only one behind our joint top scorers Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh. I can only assume that Arsenal have not put away the majority of chances that Arshavin has made because he only has three assists in the stats on Fantasy Premier League.
I spoke recently about my decision to lay off Arshavin and the boss is only too aware of how much criticism the little Russian is getting. He has the stats to back up the fact that he is a top class player and when he turns it on he can win a game all on his own. However, he has a style of play that makes him appear lazy and disinterested and the fans can see how little he seems to work off the ball at times as well. He had an awful game against Birmingham last Saturday and he was only on the bench as we trashed Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night.
Throughout his career Arshavin has been known as a player who goes missing at times and we have seen that at Arsenal as well. We signed for us first of all he gradually worked his way into a team that was missing the injured Cesc Fabregas and he ended up making a huge impact that first half season that he played. It was through his efforts more than anyone else taht we managed to finish in the Champions League places that season but the feeling has been that we haven't seen that same player since then.
A number of factors might have influenced his sometimes disappointing displays and it has been well documented that he actually took a pay cut to play for Arsenal,thanks to the tax regime in England. He wasn't too happy with that and he ended up parting company with the man who looked after his negotiations. Added to that he then had the disappointment of not qualifying for the World Cup with Russia as they lost out in a play off to Slovenia. That had a very bad effect on him at the time and Arsenal suffered as a result.
Russia are now well on the road to qualifying for Euro 2012 and he will be 31 when those finals are played so he might see that as his final opportunity to shine on the international stage. He is now the captain of his country and at his age Arsenal will start to consider what sort of contract he should be offered. The usual practice is not to offer more than one year to players over the age of 30 which is exactly the age he is approaching now. The boss spoke about player negotiations yesterday and he said that they are more or less permanently ongoing with most players. I would imagine that Arsenal will attempt to sign Arshavin up for at least three more seasons after this one and then he will be into that one year contract territory.
The boss also said that he paid no real heed to the goings on at "Manure" involving "Shrek" as he felt the only difference between those negotiations and those happening daily at every single club was that they were played out in public. There are a couple of trains of thought on the whole "Shrek" situation and a lot of people are not convinced that he still won't be sold in January or next summer. The thinking is that he signed the contract to ensure "Manure" will get a good price for him and I suppose it does make a degree of sense.
However, I would be of the opinion that he was possibly a little taken aback by the reaction and threats of some "fans" and when the club then offered him the money he wanted he decided to stay. I do wonder whether he has a clause or two in his contract about assurances he might have been made about future purchases by "Manure". I have a funny feeling that he may well be allowed to leave if he decides that they haven't replaced their retiring stars with players of a high standard over the next 18 months. It's a situation that will be well worth watching as will the reaction of the "Manure" fans when he plays for them next.
I have to say that I'm not too fond of Saturdays when Arsenal aren't playing as it's the traditional to watch football but all that's on the TV is the Spuds or Chelsea. The sooner the better tomorrow afternoon rolls on and I can get the feeling of butterflies in my stomach as Arsenal play what is a very big game for them at Man City. I'll preview that tomorrow but that's about the lot for today.