By Chris Harris
Andrey Arshavin has come to a firm conclusion after one month with Arsenal - English football is harder than it looks on TV!
The Russian playmaker wrapped up his move from Zenit St. Petersburg on transfer-deadline day and has made a steady improvement in each of his three appearances for Arsène Wenger's team.
Arshavin operated in his favoured central role at West Brom on Tuesday night and troubled the home side throughout with his quick feet and eye for a pass. The 27-year-old capped an impressive display with an assist for Kolo Toure's first-half goal but he admits that the reality of English football is a far cry from the armchair view.
"I watched the matches that were broadcast in Russia whenever possible," said Arshavin. "But to tell the truth it seemed less difficult on TV. Only now do I understand how dynamic and hard the football is here.
"Now I would like to score as soon as possible. Everybody expected me to score in my very first match but that never happens, especially with me. But nothing was easy and immediate for me. Arsenal is no exception. So I need patience and hard work now.
"The main task now is to get into the Champions League for next season."
Like all foreign players, Arshavin is having to wrestle with a new language as well as a new style of football. But the Russian international has given himself a head-start in that respect.
"I began my English studies about two years ago," he revealed.
"I had no solid plans [of moving to London]. But I already thought about England and moreover English is an international language and can be handy everywhere. All experienced people said that the better you know the language the easier it will be. And even if I had not left Russia, knowledge of a foreign language cannot be a waste."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 Mar 2009