By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has defended Andrey Arshavin’s display against Manchester United last weekend and insisted that critics have been “too hard” on the Russian star.

Arshavin led the line against the champions and caused them plenty of problems, especially while the scores remained level in the first half.

The 28-year-old shot wide twice in the first 13 minutes, ignoring his team-mates’ calls for a pass, and then missed the target again just before United took the lead through Manuel Almunia’s own goal.

Arshavin was criticised after the game but Wenger believes that the Russian playmaker performed well.

“We had the first chances in the game, three big ones before they scored,” said the manager. “Because we didn’t score, you can’t say Arshavin took the best option.

“But Arshavin did well on Sunday, he was dangerous and he fought. People are too hard with him.”

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 5 Feb 2010