Martin Keown: Andrey Arshavin has to work for the team as well
Written by Renzo on December 27, 2010 4:45
With nineteen goals conceded so far Arsenal’s defence has been criticised this season with former defender Martin Keown believing the blame should not be all on the defenders.
Speaking on Arsenal’s problems in the defensive department, the former centre back explained how the players in front of the backline should help more their colleagues as doing well when on the ball is good for the team but so is helping out when the team is under pressure with Keown adding how midfielders should help out just like full backs do when the team is surging forward.
Of all players in the offensive department, the Englishman was specifically critical of Russian midfielder Andrey Arshavin as he explained how he is to emulate the likes of Iniesta and Xavi in understanding how to contribute better to the cause of the team.
Another ex-Arsenal player, Ray Parlour, also highlighted the problem earlier this month with the player himself admitting how sometimes he opts not to sprint resulting in a player having space to cross for his team-mates.
On Arshavin’s contribution, Keown said:
There’s lots of talk about the back four but I think they need to be a bit more demanding of the people that play in front of them and certainly those in wide positions.
I think the wide players can do more to help, and our attitude used to be the more they do in front of us, the less we do. It’s ok wanting to play with the ball, but you have to play without it. You need to defend as a team.
[Arshavin is] one of the biggest culprits really in terms of switching off when the ball goes out of play. I think had he been playing in our team, someone would’ve had a word in his ear and said ‘Listen, fantastic what your doing in possession, we know they’re your strengths, but you have to work for the team as well.
It’s a balancing act. We had Marc Overmars who was equally gifted – maybe even more gifted – when going forward with incredible pace and wasn’t overly keen to defend, but he would have to have to put his stint in for the side. You have got to put a shift in.
These days if you compare Arsenal to the likes of Barcelona, you simply can’t accuse Iniesta or Xavi of not working hard enough when they’re out of possession. I think that if they can do it, then anyone can do it.
You win together, you lose together. The full backs are able to attack with great venom and great energy, so why can’t the wide players defend with the same energy?
It’s about a willingness to work for one another. You can’t carry any passengers and I just think one or two of them could do a bit more when they’re not in possession.