Andrey started the season at Arsenal, returned to Zenit St Petersburg for a successful loan spell and then lit up Euro 2012 with some superb displays. It has certainly been a busy year for the Russian schemer.

The 31-year-old played a key role in helping to kick-start the Gunners’ season in September after a difficult opening had left them in the bottom half of the table. In desperate need of a morale-boosting win against Swansea, Arshavin scored the only goal of the game when he took advantage of a Michel Vorm error to secure a vital three points.

But that was far from his only important contribution in Arsenal colours before his February departure to Russia. As one of the elder statesmen featuring in the Carling Cup fourth-round tie against Bolton in October, an inspirational Andrey sent the Gunners on their way to victory by firing home the opening goal and then set up the winner for Ju Young Park.

Then, in his final match for the Club before his move to Zenit, Andrey reminded everyone of his enduring class with a superb cross to set up Thierry Henry’s last-gasp winner at Sunderland. It was a fitting farewell.

He returned to his homeland days later, but had left an indelible mark on the season. And his performances in Poland and Ukraine at Euro 2012 proved once again that those boots contain all the old magic.

“It's important we took our first three points [against Swansea]. Now we can move up and look forward to the next game. To be honest I didn't see what happened. When I turned around I saw the ball in front of me - I just had to hit it properly. I did well, and the ball ended up in the net.”

Andrey Arshavin 2011/12 season stats
Competition Appearances Goals Assists
Premier League 8+11 1 3
Champions League 3+2 0 0
FA Cup 1 0 0
Carling Cup 1+1 1 1
Total 13+14 1 4

With just seconds remaining of the game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Andrey found some space on the left flank to curl in an exquisite cross for Thierry Henry to convert from close range. It was the little Russian at his very best.

11/12: Arsenal 1-0 Swansea City - Andrey Arshavin

Andrey scores the only goal of the game against Swansea

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14 Jun 2012