By Declan Taylor

Andrey Arshavin’s ineligibility for Monday’s FA Cup replay clash is a good thing, according to Arsène Wenger.

Arshavin was included in the Arsenal squad that faced Tottenham on Sunday but did not come off the bench at White Hart Lane. And because the deadline-day signing was not an Arsenal player before the Fourth-Round tie against Cardiff on January 25, he is not permitted to play in the replay.

However, speaking to Arsenal TV Online ahead of the match, Wenger insisted that the delay on the Russian’s debut will benefit him in the long run as he continues to regain full match-fitness.

“It is a good thing for him yes,” said the manager. “I was a little bit handcuffed against Tottenham because we were down to 10 men and if we had sustained an injury then you couldn’t bring on a player who lacks fitness when you are down to 10 men.

“In between, he will now have two weeks before the next game and hopefully will be fully fit for Sunderland [on Saturday 21st February].”

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13 Feb 2009