Andrey Arshavin will be watching with interest when two Russian clubs try to book their places in the last 16 of the Champions League next week.

Russian football has been down in the dumps ever since the national side lost to Slovenia in the World Cup play-offs last month. The defeat clearly resonated with Arshavin, who had set his heart on leading Russia at next summer's Finals in South Africa.

But club football in the Arsenal star's homeland is in better shape with champions Rubin Kazan taking four points off Barcelona in their Champions League group and CSKA Moscow holding their own in Manchester United's group.

Both sides are in with a shout of progressing when the final round of group fixtures take place next week. And Arshavin is excited by the prospect of Russian success in the Champions League.

“I saw the CSKA game on Wednesday when they beat Wolfsburg,” he told the Official Matchday Programme. “They looked strong and they showed good spirit because they went behind in the first-half.

"And of course Rubin made those two good performances against Barcelona – we’ll see how it all stands after the final round of games, but I hope at least one of them goes through.

"Nobody knew them [Rubin], but they are a wealthy team with a good coach, Kurban Berdyev, who managed to collect a group of good players around him. So they have a good squad and they duly showed that - that’s why Rubin is now the league’s dominant team.”

This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

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3 Dec 2009