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Arsene Wenger is willing to hand Andrey Arshavin another start in Tuesday’s Carling Cup tie with Manchester City, only days after the Russian’s discouraging show against Fulham.
Despite being presented a rare chance in the Premier League on Saturday, Arshavin – who was spotted at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals along with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Robert Pires and Cristiano Ronaldo on Sunday – failed to gracefully accept Wenger’s call, putting in a performance which saw him substituted as Arsenal searched for a winner.
The tough midweek win over Dortmund seemed to have cost the Gunners some energy in Saturday’s draw but Arshavin, rested on Wednesday night anyway, looked as lethargic as his fatigued teammates.
Arsene Wenger though, is still backing the 30-year-old despite his declining reputation and the Frenchman has argued that Arshavin needs more games to impress – hinting that the midfielder who scored in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Bolton in the last round of the Carling Cup is likely to play in the competition’s quarter-final clash with Man. City.
“That (poor performance) is normal for a big player who has not played regularly” Wenger said
“I actually don’t think he (Arshavin) had a bad game. He suffered from the fact that we didn’t have our usual flow, but the full confidence will come with a number of games”
But somewhat contradicting his support for the dull Arshavin, Wenger praised the performances of late substitutes Abou Diaby and Marouane Chamakh – who also had been starved of action.
“They (Diaby and Chamakh) were fresh and hungry. Hopefully in the coming weeks they will show that.” Wenger added.
Likely to compete with Arshavin for a place on Tuesday are Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has already bagged two goals for the club and Gervinho who was rested on Saturday. Yossi Benayoun and Park Chu-Young will also be vying for a scarce chance.