By Richard Clarke
Andrey Arshavin is in line to make his Arsenal debut against Sunderland on Saturday.
The Russian midfielder will certainly be involved but, speaking to Arsenal TV Online on Thursday, Arsène Wenger was unsure whether he would start against Ricky Sbragia’s side.
The 27-year-old’s only experience since signing from Zenit St Peterburg came at Tottenham a fortnight ago. He was named on the bench but did not come on.
“He will be involved,” said Wenger. “But I have not decided what I will do with him yet."
Of course, any new signing needs an adaption period in English football. The only question mark over Arshavin is whether he can have a positive influence on Arsenal’s quest for a Champions League spot in the final three months of the season. But, despite being in pre-season training with Zenit when he signed, his physical fitness should not be a problem.
“He is still working on preparation and he is not qualified for the game against Roma so we can give him another week of hard work," said Wenger. "At the end of next week, that will be three weeks with us and one week with Zenit, that should be enough.”
Elsewhere, Emmanuel Eboue is back from suspension and Johan Djourou is fit following his sickness on Monday night.
Abou Diaby (thigh) is not quite ready yet. Mikael Silvestre (thigh), Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring), Cesc Fabregas (knee), Theo Walcott (shoulder), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring tendon) are still on the injured list.
Arsenal TV Online subscribers can see the full video interview on Friday morning. In it Wenger talks about:
- Man United going five points clear
- whether Arsenal are still in a title fight
- the Villa v Chelsea game
- more on Eduardo
- the full injury list
- coming good for the run-in
- the timing of the Burnley tie
- Kenwyne Jones’ strength
- why Cisse’s done a ‘Double Eduardo’