Arsenal's Russian striker Arshavin ready for Chelsea battle

Sep 29, 2012, 10:20 IST | Agencies

Thanks to a fine show against Coventry in League Cup, Arsenal's Russian striker, who has played just 13 mins in EPL this season, will start against Chelsea today

Andrei Arshavin’s goal and three assists in the 6-1 thumping of Coventry City in the League Cup have put him back in contention for a Premier League start with Arsenal, according to coach Arsene Wenger.

The Russian football player had only played 13 minutes this season for Arsenal before Wednesday’s match, where he was given a rare start. Arshavin has also been left out by new Russia manager Fabio Capello.

Arsenal striker Andrei Arshavin. Pic/Afp

“At the moment the competition is very high (for a first-team place). But he will get his chance, and he showed here that he deserves it.,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website Thursday.

The 31-year-old forward earned the penalty from which Olivier Giroud netted his first goal for the Gunners, then set up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to put Arsenal 2-0 up.

He got on the score sheet himself in the 63rd minute, chesting down and firing home, before crossing to Ignasi Miquel to head in the fifth.

Arshavin went into the game after a massive vote of confidence from his coach.

200% professional
“I have personally great respect for Andrei 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 percent professional who works very hard in training every day,”said Wenger.

The player meanwhile is positive despite admitting that he’s never been in such a situation before, where he’s had to sit out for so long. “It’s been very difficult for me, my first time in this position. Of course I really want to be playing, but I still try to be in be in as good a condition as possible and I hope I’ll have more chances soon. It was very good to score against Coventry, I enjoyed that. My aim is to be part of it, to play football and focus on Arsenal,” he said yesterday.

Arshavin was linked with a slew of EPL clubs as well as Turkish side Galatasaray and his former club Zenit St. Petersburg in the summer transfer window, but finally stayed at the Emirates Stadium.

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