September 3rd, 2010
Attack: Andrei Kanchelskis says Arshavin (above) is overrated and inconsistent
Andrey Arshavin admits he has lost the sparkle that made Arsenal splash out £15million to sign him from Zenit St Petersburg 19 months ago.
The Russia star initially dazzled in England, hitting his peak with four goals against Liverpool at Anfield, but his form last season was sporadic and punctuated by injuries.
Despite scoring twice in three games for the Gunners this season, he has still been uninspiring and admits his game has changed since moving to the Barclays Premier League.
‘The year and a half in England has significantly changed me,’ he told Russian newspaper Sport-Express. ‘I became calmer, more professional and spend more time with my family.’
‘As for football I can say that my style has also altered – it is more effective but less sparkling. I don’t remember when was the last time I score a really beautiful goal.
‘It’s frustrating. I tried to analyse this, but can find no answers. It is likely that my injuries last year had an affect, because on three occasions I was out for a month, but it is feeble to talk about injuries.’
Despite the lack of form, Arshavin was somehow judged the best player of Russia or former Soviet countries for August, collecting the prestigious Zvezda award voted for by journalists.
‘I am very much surprised,’ he admitted. ‘If I became No 1 last month that means there were no other significant events. Of course I scored two goals in the three starting matches but that is not enough to win a month’s award.’
It is certainly a view likely to be shared by one man who took England by storm: Andrei Kanchelskis.
The former Manchester United and Everton winger has launched a scathing assessment of his 29-year-old compatriot.
‘To start with, Arshavin seldom plays for 90 minutes and is usually substituted in the second half,’ said Kanchelskis. ‘When he plays each match from start to finish, then we will see.
‘In the first match (of the season) against Liverpool, you didn’t see him in the box. A week later Blackpool conceded six goals, Arshavin took a penalty and scored. But you need to understand the level of the opponent.
‘And then Blackburn, who he scored the winning goal against, are far from a top club.
‘In my opinion, Arshavin is overrated. He has been praised too much. He hasn’t shown brilliance for a very long time. The main thing is consistency, which Arshavin doesn’t have.’
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