May 22 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, June 16, 2012
A look at Alan Dzagoev’s performance for Russia against Greece
Russia playmaker Alan Dzagoev has caught the eye of Arsenal and was impressive for his country at Euro 2012, scoring three goals in the opening two games but will be making an early return home after Greece beat the much-fancied side to qualify instead.
It was clear that when Russia charged forward they were looking for the attack-minded midfielder, rather than the misfiring Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
While it was not Dzagoev’s finest performance as the Greek defence was impregnable, but the 21-year-old caused problems down the right flank straight away and produced a brilliant cross that Andrey Arshavin nearly touched home.
His first shot, however, flew over the bar after some excellent build up play by the Russians, with Arshavin, again pulling the strings.
Dzagoev again looked to provide with a great lay-off to Kerzhakov, who fired a shot just off target.
Yuri Zhirkov’s run was teed up for the 21-year-old but the Greek defence cleared their lines before pulling the trigger.
Dzagoev then tested keeper with a deflected effort from range but had support on the left, which may have been the better decision.
The 21-year-old showed his tempestuousness with a wild, mistimed challenge on Giorgos Tzavelas that led to him picking up his second yellow card of the tournament.
Arshavin delivered an inch perfect cross and Dzagoev showed his aerial ability but his effort drifted agonisingly wide as Russia needed to score to progress.
And his final touch was to blaze over the bar as Russia crashed out.
While Dzagoev has been consistently good in Euro 2012, there is always a danger should Arsene Wenger decide to sign the playmaker on a tournament performance.
You only have to look close by at team-mate Arshavin to see the risk of signing a player after a strong tournament.
The 31-year-old was instrumental for Zenit St Petersburg in the Uefa Cup before helping to fire Russia to the semi-finals, scoring in wins against Sweden and Holland.
In 135 games for the Gunners Arshavin scored 28 times, including four against Liverpool.
However, his play last season left a lot to be desired and he was shipped out to Zenit St Petersburg after a string of poor performances left him way down in the pecking order.
One thing that Dzagoev has on his side is youth and at 21 he has the potential to develop and there are few better places to polish a rough diamond than Arsenal.