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Arshavin admits on-pitch struggles

Arsenal star Andrei Arshavin has admitted his confidence has plummeted so low that he is "afraid" to express himself fully on the pitch.

• Hill-Wood unmoved by fan pleas

The Gunners midfielder has looked a shadow of his rampaging best this season and has surrendered his spot in the starting XI to Theo Walcott. He has started just one league match since the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on October 13.

Although the 29-year-old can boast four goals and nine assists in league matches, he has attracted the ire of the Emirates crowd for his nonchalant attitude to defending and his tendency to squander promising attacking positions.

Now the Russia international, linked with Juventus during the transfer window, has confessed that indecision has crept into his game.

"I am afraid of taking the initiative," he is quoted as saying by The Sun. "When such thoughts appear, your final decision, as a rule, turns out to be wrong. And you waste a lot of opportunities. That was happening to me in recent matches.

"Now when I get the ball, I begin to think, 'Should I try and trick an opponent? Or if I do, will I Lose the ball? And what if I make a pass? Won't they think that I am trying to get rid of the ball?'

"Unfortunately, there is no button in a human body to switch off unnecessary thoughts. I need to train and play. After a few good performances, the courage and automatic decision-making are going to return.

"I do not have enough acceleration. From the very start of this season I felt I'm fast enough only in separate episodes. The reason? I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting old."

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