By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger will move Andrey Arshavin back to the flanks when he can.

The Russian has been operating as the pivotal striker in Arsenal’s 4-3-3 formation since the start of December after the Emirates Stadium side suffered a number of injuries up front.

Arshavin’s centralisation has had a major part in his team’s rise up the table. The 28-year-old has even played through the pain-barrier in recent weeks as Arsenal have closed the gap on the leaders.

They could reach the summit on Wednesday with a two-goal win over Bolton. However, despite his ability to prise openings in tight situations, Wenger will not persist with the ploy when he has more established strikers back.

“Andrey’s movement around the box is intelligent and, at the end of the day, how our strikers do that makes a difference for teams like us,” said the manager speaking before the weekend fixtures.

“In every game we have the ball 60 per cent of the time and when we do have it we play against 10 players in their own half. So what makes the difference is intelligence and movement around the box in the final third and [Andrey] is very good in the short space.

“He started very well up front but in the last few games he had a few more difficulties. He had a foot injury and could kick the ball properly. He is now coming back.

“But I do not deny as well that our plan in the future is to put him back where he was - playing on the left."

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20 Jan 2010