Is Andrey Arshavin Right to Question Arsenal Fans' Passion?
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The English game is known for many things. There's the physicality that embodies the Premier League attitude and few leagues in the world can compare with the rough-and-tumble top division.
There's the English national team, whose failures and lack of composure from the penalty spot have come to be known all over the world.
Finally, there are the historic grounds that populate the country of football's founding.
You have Anfield, where You'll Never Walk Alone sends shivers down the spines of players and supporters alike. You have Old Trafford, known as the Theatre of Dreams, which has been the home of legends such as Beckham, Cantona and Charlton.
There's even the Britannia, but then again, who would want to play on a cold Tuesday night at Stoke?
One arena that has never quite reached the level of intensity as some of its competitors is Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.
Despite Arsenal's successes, the Emirates has never oozed passion and pride quite like the others spread throughout the league.
One former Arsenal player who became fed up with the Emirates' atmosphere, or lack thereof, is Russian star Andrey Arshavin.
The former Arsenal winger, who is perhaps best known for his four-goal explosion against Liverpool in 2009, recently spoke out about his disappointment in the Arsenal support.
"The atmosphere was weird," said Arshavin, according to The Sun. "It felt like the crowd was at the theatre - good seats, expensive tickets and they wanted to see a show, not to support the team."
Arshavin is right. Our 3,000 away supporters are louder than our home fans. Waiting to be entertained and always late! #Arsenal— Rªs JªrÖ (@mikeyjaro) October 31, 2013
Arshavin didn't stop there, stating that the lack of passion displayed by Arsenal supporters had a major effect on players' performance on the pitch.
"It was like there was no advantage in playing at home," said Arshavin, who left Arsenal over the summer to rejoin Zenit Saint Petersburg.
"Many of the players - the leaders that were left from the club's time at Highbury - often complained that the atmosphere in the stands was so bad."
Now, don't get me wrong. This very well could be a case of sour grapes for Arshavin, as the winger left the club before this season's upswing after quite a few tumultuous seasons in London.
However, this isn't the first time Arsenal supporters have been called out, with even manager Arsene Wenger seeing issues with home support in the past.
"You are all very quiet, a little bit like the game on Saturday," said the Frenchman at a supporters' meeting in 2008, according to Mirror Football.
"It is a recession mood, but it will not last - do not worry. This team needs a strong guide to go through difficult periods, because at the moment I do not feel from our fans that this team gets the support it deserves."
This brings us to chicken or egg theory when it comes to Arsenal and their support.
Are supporters not intense because Arsenal have spent much of the last decade trophyless? Or have Arsenal struggled to pick up results because they don't believe they have the supporters on their side?
Whatever it may be, it doesn't appear to have had much of an effect on the Gunners of 2013-14, as Arsenal currently find themselves top of the table.
However, if Arsenal supporters want to see their trip to the theatre result in a storybook ending, they might just support the club the way players such as Arshavin see fit.
What do you think of Arsenal's support? Do Arshavin's comments hold any weight? Have your say with a comment below or tweet @R_Tolmich with your opinion!
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