By Chris Harris

Andrey Arshavin puts his mid-season dip down to two factors: a loss of form and media criticism.

The Russian playmaker started the campaign in fine fettle, netting five times in nine appearances, but the goals - and even his assists - dried up towards the end of 2010.

Arshavin lost his first-team place at the turn of the year and, according to Arsène Wenger, was at a low ebb. However in recent weeks the 29-year-old has rediscovered his verve, culminating in the superb strike that secured a 2-1 victory over Barcelona last Wednesday.

An in-form Arshavin will be a huge asset for Arsenal as they chase silverware on four fronts and the man himself thinks his loss of confidence was exacerbated by a disapproving press.

"I think it was a combination, my form and they [the media] chased me a little bit as well," said Arshavin.

"Normally everyone expects something more from me and that is good to hear, because only from good players does someone expects something."

Arshavin's primary task now is to win back his first-team place for the biggest games - he was on the bench against Barcelona - and then help Arsenal lift at least one trophy.

"It’s a normal situation for a big club [to have competition for places]. I don’t do anything against both of them [Nasri and Theo Walcott], I just try to be in my best form.

"We must be together, focused on every single game and hopefully we can sort one of the titles this month. Then only three titles will be left.

"I don’t think it will get easier though because we still have to play Barcelona away and the end of the season is always much tougher than games in the middle or at the start."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
23 Feb 2011