Time to step up your game, Arshavin, laziness isn't the Arsenal way!

By Graham McNorthbank

There were some interesting quotes from Andrey Arshavin following his lacklustre performance (and that's putting it mildly) against Bolton on Saturday.

Leaving out the fact that he failed to find the net despite a handful of one-on-ones with the rookie Bolton keeper, his attitude on the pitch is nothing short of woeful for a seasoned professional.

To be fair, Arshavin himself was not happy with his poor finishing, admitting he had been "too hasty".

"If I managed to use my chances in the first half, the margin would have been larger. And the game would have been even easier for us.”

Sure, he gave the assist for Alex Song's excellently taken goal - the 1,000th of Arsene Wenger's reign - but as one of the players Le Boss must be looking to as a role model for the younger Gunners, Arshavin is falling way short of the mark.

Don't get me wrong, on his day Andrey can sparkle - his goal scoring record against Liverpool shows that.

But he's undoubtedly one of the laziest players I've seen pull on an Arsenal top and if he's serious about wanting to have a legacy where he's remembered as a magician, then he's going to have to pull his finger out and start working harder.

Let's remember that this is a 29-year-old full international we're talking about here, not a petulant teenager.

In the Emirates Cup this summer, Avenell Dave and I watched the players warm up and joked about how lazy Arshavin was being by cutting corners and refusing to run around the final cone in a jogging exercise. Petty that might be, but despite what Andrey thinks, he has yet to prove to me that he's a superstar that should somehow be treated differently from his team mates.

His little flicks and back heels can be mesmerising when they come off, but more often than not they end a promising move by gifting possession back to the opposition. And again I believe it's down to laziness - not looking to see where your team mates are and trying to pull off a cheeky pass when it would be far simpler to control the ball, work a little bit and retain possession.

I know there will be people who disagree with me, but just watch Arshavin when he passes a ball. Unless he thinks he's going to get the ball back, he stands stationary to admire his work, rather than sign up to the pass and move football that Arsenal win so many admirers for.

But the biggest sin for me, witnessed by 59,875 others at Emirates Stadium on Saturday - but not shown in the highlights - was Arshavin jogging off to the sideline when Carlos Vela stripped down for action. The only issue for lazy Andrey was that it wasn't his number that was being held up, but that of goal scorer Marouane Chamakh.

Andrey looked embarassed - and so he should be. But the comments from the Gooners around me highlighted that I am not the only one who thinks our Russian should be working harder on the pitch.