By our Russian correspondent
With any luck our talismanic new signing Andrey Arshavin will be over his virus and fit to turn out against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday
Having just lost to United by 3 goals to 1 at the Emirates, we will have a chance to judge just what effect 5 foot 8 inches of Russian genius can have on our team’s performance.
We shouldn’t expect too much. Granted he pretty much single handedly took on and should have defeated Liverpool at Anfield if only we’d had even a rudimentary understanding of defence that night.
Andrey the man……he comes from working class Russian stock. His parents divorced when he was 10 and he almost died when he was involved in a car accident. He had to sleep on the floor of a cramped flat and showed footballing promise from an early age encouraged by his father. So no silver spoon there but a classic rags to riches story.
He is of compact stature with something of the ‘Hobbit’ about his physique. His low centre of gravity and deceptive strength are comparable to that of Maradona and give him the ability to twist and turn making him a nightmare for lumbering centrebacks. But his most outstanding gift is located between his ears….he has an exceptional footballing brain, his spacial awareness and vision in passing is as good as anyone in the Premier league. He has ‘two good feet’ and I think we can forgive him for not being prolific with his head considering it comes up to the waist of most other players.
His record…..he scored 52 goals in 238 appearances for Zenit at an average of 1 goal every 4.5 games….he has scored 15 goals in 43 appearances for the Russian national team at an average of 1 goal every 2.8 games….he has scored 6 goals in 12 appearances for Arsenal at an average of 1 goal every 2 games.
The effect on the team……he has brought energy, invention and much needed clinical finishing to our midfield and attack. He gives options to Cesc, RVP and Nasri – they can play football with him and they seem to be on the same wavelength already.
The effect on the fans…..I can’t remember any other player that has ever become such an instant hit. OK, we were desperate for new quality signings and after the prolonged post deadline saga it was not surprising that we yearned for a new hero, and boy, he hasn’t let us down. He is already being described laughably as a ‘legend’ when he’s only been at the club a matter of weeks. He’s lifted the players, he’s lifted the fans and next year, I have a feeling he will help us lift trophies.