MOSCOW: Former Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin believes they are a conservative club who missed out on a big chance to win the Premier League title this season.
The Russian international, who joined Arsenal for 15 million pounds ($21.5 million) from Zenit St. Petersburg in 2009, believes little has changed at the London club since he left almost three years ago. “It’s a conservative club,” Arshavin told Reuters.
“Over the last few years Arsenal have bought two world-class players in Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, while the goalkeeper Petr Cech has also joined. Apart from that there have not been any major changes.” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been at the club for 20 years.
“Arsenal have had the same head coach for a long time and he has his ideas,” Arshavin said.
“The whole team depends on the viewpoint of Arsene Wenger and his views towards football. I don’t know if this conservatism is a hindrance.”
The Londoners are fourth in the Premier League table, 13 points behind leaders Leicester City with five games left.
“This season Arsenal had every chance to become champions given the squad they have,” Arshavin said.
“All their main rivals, Chelsea, Manchester United and even Manchester City have not been looking bright.
“Everyone was saying that the Gunners would be battling it out for the title, but as you can see there is no comparison to Leicester this season. It is very likely that they will be crowned champions.”
Arshavin enjoyed a good start to his career at Arsenal and scored four goals against Liverpool in a 4-4 draw at Anfield.
A couple of seasons later, however, he was often relegated to the substitutes’ bench before being loaned back to Zenit and he left Arsenal in 2013 without winning a major trophy.
“My time in London was an alright part of my career,” said the 34-year-old, who is now playing for Kairat Almaty in Kazakhstan.
“There were some good moments and there were some not particularly nice ones. However, on the whole I have good memories.”