Andrei Arshavin will start his first game for Arsenal in over eight months tonight as the Gunners face Coventry in the Capital One Cup.
The Russian last started on Jan 15th in the 3-2 defeat away at Swansea in the Premier League, and not long afterwards spent the remainder of the season on loan at his old club Zenit St Petersburg.
Arshavin has played just a few minutes of football this campaign and has failed to make the last two match day squads, however, Arsene Wenger says his absence from the squad is due to its strength and that the owly one is fully committed and working hard.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, the boss said, “I have personally a great respect for Andrey Arshavin because sometimes some wrong ideas are circulated about him – that he doesn’t care, but it’s completely the opposite. He’s a 200 per cent professional who works very hard in training every day.”
“At the moment he’s a victim of the high level of competition that exists for places. He has a huge respect from everybody in the dressing room, and especially from the staff.
“I feel he’s unhappy that he doesn’t play because deeply he loves football and he practices every day with 100 per cent commitment. I’m happy to give him some competition on Wednesday night.”
Arseblog News knows that Arsenal were willing to let Arshavin go on a free transfer this summer, with interest from a number of Russian clubs, but he wanted to remain in London.
Tonight is a chance for him to show that the player we paid £13m for is still capable of producing something, and with a long season ahead, can contribute to our trophy pushes.
Wenger also spoke about the opportunity for Andre Santos with the Brazilian set to make his first start of this campaign, and the manager suggested patience will be a virtue for him and others slightly on the fringes because of the team’s good form.
“I keep confidence in Andre Santos. At the moment Gibbs is doing well, the whole defence overall has done well since the start of the season so we don’t have much chance to change. But it will come because we have so many games if we do well in all the competition, that’s absolutely natural.
“Nobody can play all the games anyway.”