Friday, September 2, 2011

Andrei Arshavin

Andrey ARSHAVIN...simply the best

Andrei Sergeyevich Arshavin (Russian: Андрей Сергеевич Аршавин; sometimes romanized as Andrey; born 29 May 1981) is an association footballer who plays for the English Premier League team Arsenal and captains the Russian national team. He has won both the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup with Zenit.

The 2006 Russian footballer of the year is a versatile attacking midfielder who can also play as a second striker. Arshavin gained international attention during his breakthrough performance at the UEFA Euro 2008 championship in Austria-Switzerland which resulted in his inclusion in the Team of the Tournament.
Signing for Arsenal in 2009, Arshavin enjoyed a successful start to his career with the Gunners, becoming Premier League Player of the Month in April 2009 and Arsenal's player of the month in March and April 2009. During the 2008–09 season, he scored six goals in 12 league appearances for Arsenal. In a match against Liverpool, Arshavin became the first player to score four league goals at Anfield since 1946. Former Arsenal forward Dennis Bergkamp has speculated that Arshavin has "every chance of becoming a favourite of the London fans".
Andrei Sergeyevich Arshavin was born in Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg on 29 May 1981 to a typical Russian working class family. His father Sergey was a gifted amateur footballer. Arshavin survived an accident that could have potentially killed him when he was hit by a car as a child. His upbringing was made a lot harder when his parents divorced when he was aged 12 with Andrei having to sleep on the floor of a cramped flat with his mother. It was his father who persuaded him to pursue a career in football after his own failure to become a professional football player. Arshavin began playing football at an early age and at seven years of age, he was enrolled in the Smena football academy of Zenit, his hometown club. As a schoolboy before football became his sole focus, he was also a promising draughts player. Arshavin's father died of heart failure at the age of 40 He has written three books including one called ‘555 Questions and Answers on Women, Money, Politics and Football’. Arshavin also has a degree in Fashion Design.He often misbehaved at school,"I behaved badly at school. When I was in the second form, I tore down the registering journal of the class". It was this incident described by Arshavin that saw him expelled.
In 2000, Arshavin was included in the Zenit first-team squad, making his debut in a 3–0 away win over English side Bradford City in the Intertoto Cup,coming on as a first half substitute for Andrey Kobelev.He played in various positions on the field, starting as a right midfielder, then as an attacking midfielder, and finally adopted the second striker's role playing on a flank or behind the target man.

In the 2007 Russian Premier League season, Shava (Шава in Russian), as he was nicknamed by Zenit fans, guided his Zenit Saint Petersburg side to the title, starting all 30 matches, scoring 11 goals and providing 11 assists (the most in the Russian Premier League that year) along the way. It was the club's first league title since winning the now defunct Soviet Top League in 1984. Arshavin was also a key player during Zenit's 2008 UEFA Cup triumph and was named Man of the Match in the final, again topping the list for assists in that season's UEFA competition. In October 2008, Arshavin was nominated for the prestigious Ballon d'Or award, along with 29 others including compatriot Yuri Zhirkov.
Arshavin's performances in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Euro 2008 brought him to the attention of several European clubs. However, interest had already been expressed in January 2008 by Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce, but he was sacked as manager as the transfer window opened. In June 2008, FC Barcelona had their €15 million offer for the player turned down by Zenit. Tottenham Hotspur's £16m offer in August also fell short of Zenit's £22m asking price. Zenit's unwillingness to compromise on their asking price caused discontent from both Arshavin, who said the 2008 season was definitely going to be his last with Zenit,and his agent Denis Lachter.
During the January 2009 transfer window, Arshavin was persistently pursued by English Premier League club Arsenal. On the 2 February transfer deadline day, Arshavin was staying in a Hertfordshire hotel, just a few miles from the Arsenal training ground. At around 10 am, he left the hotel and was rumoured to be heading back to Russia, but with less than an hour of the transfer window left, a bid from Arsenal was finally accepted by Zenit. By this point, he had agreed personal terms and passed a medical, but a compensation payment by Arshavin himself to Zenit was supposedly holding up the deal. The deal was further complicated by poor weather in England which had delayed the Premier League's registration process, eventually forcing the league to extend the deadline beyond 5 pm. The deal was not confirmed until the following day (3 February) nearly 24 hours after the formal transfer deadline had passed, with Arsenal announcing "a long-term deal" for an undisclosed fee. On the same day, Zenit's official web site claimed that Zenit received an official FA letter confirming Andrei Arshavin's registration as an Arsenal player. He wore the number 23 shirt, last worn by Sol Campbell. Because he played for Zenit in the 2008–09 Champions League, he was cup-tied and could not play for Arsenal in the knockout phase.
Arshavin made his debut for Arsenal against Sunderland on 21 February 2009 in the Premier League. The game ended 0–0, though Arshavin was unlucky not to score in the game, coming close twice. On 3 March 2009, Arshavin made his first telling contribution to a Premier League game against West Bromwich Albion by setting up a goal for Kolo Touré in the 38th minute via a free-kick, the second goal in a 3–1 victory. On 14 March 2009, Arshavin scored his first Arsenal goal in a very tight angle going solo against Blackburn Rovers in the 65th minute of the game. He later provided an assist to Emmanuel Eboué for the third goal of the game, which ended 4–0 to Arsenal.Arshavin took his goal tally in an Arsenal shirt to two after scoring his first ever away goal against Wigan Athletic in a 4–1 victory on 11 April 2009.

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