MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti)
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, coach Arsene Wenger said Thursday.
The Russian playmaker had only played 13 minutes this season for Arsenal before Wednesday's match, where he was given a rare start.
"At the moment the competition is very high [for a first-team place]," Wenger told Arsenal's website. "But he will get his chance, and he showed here that he deserves it."
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 on 63 minutes, chesting down and firing home, before crossing to Ignasi Miquel to head in the fifth.
The night proved a reminder to fans of the talent that earned him a move to the Emirates in 2009.
Arshavin went into the game after a massive vote of confidence from his coach, who said he was a "200 percent professional," dispelling rumors he lacks motivation.
"I have personally a 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," the French coach had said.
"He’s a 200 percent professional who works very hard in training every day."
Wenger claimed that it was only the form of his attacking players that was keeping the diminutive playmaker out of the side.
Arshavin was linked with a slew of English Premier League 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 at least until January.
His contract with the Premier League side expires in June.
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