Arsene Wenger has backed Andrei Arshavin to find his best form after former Arsenal manager George Graham labelled the Russian a ‘poor buy’.
The 30-year-old had a torrid match on Wednesday night in Marseille and has struggled all season to impose himself on matches despite being the club’s first choice on the left-hand side of midfield.
Nevertheless, speaking to assembled media ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Stoke City, Wenger emphasised his support for the former Zenit St Petersburg man by paying homage to his professionalism.
“You would not be surprised that I disagree with that [criticism of Arshavin],” said Wenger of Graham’s condemnation. “That is opinion. I think he has been great for us and he will still be great in the coming months.
“He is a great player and you have to give him credit for that. He stands up for his performances. I personally respect him highly and I think he’s a great player.
“He works through it [poor form] by keeping his focus in training and what he does well. I like Andrey because he has a great attitude. It was a difficult game for him on Wednesday and for all the players who played up front because Marseille defended, they played for a point.
“There was not a lot of space for the strikers and as long as you don’t find an opening they will not come out, and that is what happened in the game.”
In truth it comes as little surprise to Arseblog News that ‘Stroller’ isn’t a fan of Arshavin. Never one to indulge players whose creative spark came at the expense of hard work he quite happily got shot of Anders Limpar, Michael Thomas and David Rocastle in the early nineties opting to promote the likes of David Hillier, Ian Selley and Steve Morrow instead.
While that is by no means meant as a criticism of the latter trio, in joined up thinking it pretty much means Graham would advocate selling Arshavin to buy Gareth Barry…and nobody wants Gareth Barry…because he’s shit.