One of the most frustrating aspects of last season was Andrey Arshavin’s lack of involvement in the Champions League. Despite signing for Arsenal in January, the Russian was unable to take part in European games because of his involvement for Zenit St. Petersburg in the group stages of the Champions League.
This season though, Arshavin is available to help Arsenal’s European bid and Arsene Wenger believes this could be crucial to the team’s chances of success and just what they need to upset the odds. The Gunners boss says that the 28-year-old can ‘make the difference’ for Arsenal in Europe.
As we all know, Arshavin has been very impressive since joining the club with many predicting that the current campaign will be a hugely successful one for the former Zenit man. Can this conclude with Arshavin lifting the Champions League trophy though?
Well, much could be decided after tonight’s game with Celtic. Arshavin is set to start for Arsenal at Celtic Park in the first-leg of the Champions League qualifier, a game where many expect his quality to shine through.
Wenger himself admits that Arshavin ‘can turn up at any moment’ and make something significant happen. In fact, he could end up being one of the main differences between Arsenal and Celtic. The Scottish club don’t have anyone with Arshavin’s quality and Wenger knows it.
It seems as though Celtic manager Tony Mowbray knows it as well. The Bhoys boss describes Arshavin as a ‘typical Arsenal footballer’ who is ‘very gifted, bright and intelligent’. Mowbray went on to admit that he ‘sat in awe’ of the Russian while watching his four goals at Anfield last season.
Arsenal are by no means a one man team though and Wenger was keen to point this out. He finished by saying that the target is to ‘develop the team play and not focus too much on individuals’.
Regardless of this though, considering the views on both managers, it seems as though all eyes will be on Arshavin this evening as Arsenal head to Celtic Park.