Arshavin’s recent outburst was ill timed and slightly silly. It may have been an honest assessment of his opinion, or possibly a reaction to being fed up with his position as lone striker, but it will not have helped the team.
Arshavin was quoted in the Daily Mail saying;
“Third place is where we stand today, and that is already a great success for Arsenal when you take into account the class of our eleven players. If Arsenal want to become champions, how can they select Arshavin as centre forward? I am 173cm and it suits me, but next to the big centre halves of United it is very difficult to fight for the ball, especially in the air”
The first worry for me is that he refers to himself in the third person. Now, from what I remember hearing in a documentary, referring to yourself in the third person is one of the first signs of madness. Might completely sum about why he has started criticising his own team in public.
Back on the serious side of things, how did the little Russian last one day in the Arsenal changing room without being whacked? I know the Gunners are not renowned for being hard-men but, after completely slating his own team-mates, I would have expected at least a black-eye from Vermaelen.
It may just be that we are so used to the standard ‘praise your team-mates in bad times’ interviews that this came as a huge shock to our ears. Arshavin was, if anything, brutally honest. He expressed that the team would be better served with a bigger striker and himself in a more favourable position. Fair point. Arshavin, and Arsenal, looked very much out of sorts with the Russian playing as the lone striker, yet Wenger seemed to persist with that system. Against Liverpool, Wenger opted for Bendtner and, despite having a relatively quiet game; he proved more of a handful for the Liverpool defenders than Arshavin might of.
There is one thing being honest, but there is always a time and a place for things like this. We love honesty, and long may it continue, but at a time when Arsenal were ‘struggling’, would his comments have been better served in another way? Maybe more along the lines of ‘I’m happy to do a job playing out of position but I think for the benefit of the team….blah blah blah”
After all, can you imagine playing in a team and having your own team-mate admit to everybody that you are not good enough to win the league?
Other managers may not have taken the light approach Wenger did. It is surprising that he wasn’t issued with a fine but that’s Arsenal for you. Maybe in the future the little pocket rocket will choose to vent his anger through a stress ball or voodoo doll rather than the national media. It might help the team as well.