slight injury niggle forced Andrey Arshavin’s substitution yesterday.

Popular knowledge was that the Russian was brought off just to hand Carlos Vela a taste of action as Arsenal comfortably led 4-1.

But according to Arshavin, he was in pain as he made his trip to the sidelines after 82 minutes and perhaps it was a cautious move by Wenger.

The 28-year-old revealed he felt a recurrence of his foot problem after the match but was more concerned about victory at Fratton Park rather than an injury which may be shrugged off in time for next Wednesday’s league clash with Bolton – should he be rested in Sunday’s FA Cup tie at West Ham.

“The game was given to us easily, in each half, we scored two goals and controlled the course of the match. We were stronger today and Portsmouth had no chance.  Now we are in a good mood and go back  to London with confidence.”

“Yes, my foot still hurts, but more important is that we won today.”

The often professional Arshavin also chose to send his festive wishes to the Arsenal faithful during his post-match interview and has vowed to impress.

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“I am pleased to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope that in 2010 I will be able to deliver to you, my fans, more joy.”

“I also wish happiness and good health to you and your loved ones! Happy New Year!”