Arsenal managed to earn a replay against Leeds United through a Cesc Fabregas goal, which would have been a relief to millions of supporters all over the world.
They will play Leeds United at Elland Road on the 19th of January and Arsene Wenger could play a strong side in order to ensure progress. In the game against Leeds, many players were not playing to their best abilities and even consistent players like Alex Song was not so great.
But one player who came under immense scrutiny for his performance at the Emirates was Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin.
The winger has not been in good form this season and he has been criticized widely by experts and supporters for his lack of effort and desire. This has been strongly rejected by the gaffer Arsene Wenger, but he has benched him for a few times this season.
The Russian dynamo boasts very decent statistics this season despite being out of form this season and leads the tally for assists by an Arsenal player. It clearly shows that even if he is not playing well, he is capable of producing some moments of quality which can influence the game in a big way.
However, Arsenal supporters are criticizing him for his lack of effort and commitment; it does seem like the Russian has lost the faith of the Gooners.
In the game against Leeds, he had a decent goalscoring opportunity which he should have done better and also squandered possession due to some poor touches; he was also not so intent on closing down the opposition and his work rate was poor.
Arsenal supporters were obviously frustrated by that and conceding a goal to Leeds only made their day worse.
Arshavin was booed at the Emirates and he looked out of sorts throughout the game. Arsene Wenger did well not to substitute him, but it was disgraceful to see Arsenal fans booing one of their own at a time when they desperately needed a goal to stay in the competition.
It is understandable that they have been frustrated with his performances, but booing one of your own players does not solve the problem.
The Russian captain may not be at his best, but he is certainly one of the most creative players at Arsenal and with only one more year on his contract, he could be on his way out after such reactions from the supporters.
These fans have paid the money to watch their stars in action and when they do not play to their abilities, they are likely to be irritated.
However, they must remember that Arshavin is a player who has won a number of games for the club and still retains the special ability to win games on his own. He is not a very hardworking player, but he is a winner and will try to achieve success for the club.
This is a player who has been outstanding for the club in many games and it is unfair for the fans to boo a player of his calibre.
He is not a player who has lived on his 15 million transfer; on the contrary, Wenger persisted with him in the starting 11 for a long time because of his superb performances in the last two seasons.
He has given supporters plenty of joy in the last two years but when he has not been in form this season, he has been criticized too heavily. He does not enjoy not scoring goals and one must understand that he is trying to regain his best form.
Supporters must back him to do well in the future and if he is not in form, he must be supported by the fans. It is not only money that matters for a footballer; he also gives his complete effort to bring smiles to the fans.
In this context, the form of Fernando Torres has not been too dissimilar to that of Andrei Arshavin, though the latter has more impressive stats. The Spaniard looked good in one or two games, but he has largely been out of form this season.
Though Roy Hodgson was criticized, Torres was not booed at all; in fact, they cheered him whenever he was on the ball and expected him to gain his form.
The Spaniard is a match-winner and a high quality player who has enthralled the Anfield faithful since he joined the Reds; that is one of the reasons why the Spaniard has the support of the Liverpool faithful despite his poor performances and bad work rate.
Arshavin is not as important to Arsenal as Torres is to Liverpool, but he is also a match-winner and needs the support of the fans.
The supporters must respect the contributions of Andrei Arshavin, who has created so many opportunities which has provided special moments for the supporters. It was shocking to see the supporters boo one of their most consistent players in the last three years and it could be the reason why the Russian might not want to renew his contract with the Gunners.
Even if they did it out of frustration during the game, surely very few Arsenal supporters will be pleased if he does depart.
Torres could have left Liverpool during the summer and it was not the money that Liverpool offered that made him stay. It was his love for the supporters that influenced him and while he has not performed anywhere close to his best, he still continues to have the support.
On the other hand, supporters need to back the dynamic Russian to regain his form or they could see one of the most talented Arsenal players leave the club.
This article is also featured on The Invincible Gunners, a blog on Arsenal and other football news.
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