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Dirty Tackle

Here’s Andrei Arshavin experiencing the joy of scoring his first goal in 10 months

Dirty Tackle

Yes, that's Andrei Arshavin — finally set free from his decomposition on Arsenal's bench and back with Zenit St. Petersburg — actually playing football and actually running and actually scoring a goal. It was just his second Russian Premier League match since returning for a third stint with Zenit and his first goal in a competitive match since the one and only he scored for Arsenal in a 6-1 Capital One Cup win against Coventry.

Arshavin's goal put Zenit up 1-0 in the 65th minute against Kuban Krasnodar, who would eventually equalize in the 79th minute. Regardless of the result, Arshavin's goal brought his infectious joy back to the pitch — something that, on the surface, didn't seem to dissipate as his form fell off a cliff and his playing time disappeared. But as he later admitted, spending more and more time on the bench nearly took a toll on him.

"It was a punishment sat on the bench. To train even though you know you won’t play – it is psychologically difficult," he told Sport Express.

"I nearly suffered depression, but I didn’t because I’m mentally strong. The monotony of life there was crushing me."

As we know from his brilliant (and sadly defunct) Q&A sessions on his official website, Andrei truly is a difficult man to break down mentally. He never did understand those Blackberrys, though.

Anyway, hopefully this proves to be the beginning of the rebirth of Andrei Arshavin.

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