Arshavin's pull back was Pires-like and his decision making is Kasparov-like
Andrey Arshavin has made an excellent start to his Arsenal career. His football is characterised by very smart play, attacking initiative and good technique with both feet.
Arshavin has clearly shown in his short time at Arsenal that he is a player with big footballing intelligence. A player that not only has excellent footballing ability but also thinks deliberately about the smartest ways to use that talent in specific situations is a player to really enjoy watching.
His post-match comments after the 4-0 win against Blackburn were very telling about his high footballing intelligence. Speaking about his wonderful finish from a very tight angle he described how he has scored from such positions before and then described with excellent analysis how he interprets in these specific circumstances that 'goalkeepers tend to move slightly to the centre of the goal expecting a pull-back and therefore there is space to lift the ball high at the near post'.
This analysis was fantastic showing that Arshavin adopts a chess-like analysis to football; that he thinks ahead about his immediate opponent's motor responses and then selects the best move to capitalise on it. This shows very high footballing intelligence from the Russian captain; a Garry Kasparov type approach it could be said!
Of course, the great thing about Arshavin is that he also has the ability to then carry off the move that he calculates is best.
Yesterday Arsenal were a goal down in the FA Cup quarter final for over an hour until the equaliser from van Persie. RVP had an open goal to finish in and it was laid on a plate for him by Arshavin whose cool pull back in the heat of a frantic match was fantastic. Arshavin had the chance to shoot himself (and many would have) but there was a man on the line and he instantly calculated that a pass back across the goal to RVP would be the wisest move. The weight and accuracy of the pass was perfect; RVP could not miss.
This cool decision-making and technique reminded me of how Pires often declined the chance to shoot for glory to rather pass accurately across to Henry to finish from a better position. It was great to watch; and indeed was a game-turning moment.
Andrey Arshavin is proving to live up to his reputation as a very bright player and I think we will all enjoy many superb footballing moments from him in his career with Arsenal.