By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger expects Andrey Arshavin to be a "tremendous player" for Arsenal, once he adapts to the pace and power of the Premier League.
The Russian admitted earlier this week that he was "surprised" by the dynamism of the English game and it was put to Wenger at his pre-match press conference that the 27-year-old may need to bulk up.
The Arsenal manager rejected that notion. Wenger expects Arshavin's quick-thinking and technical ability to aid his adaptation and believes that the Russian will become a better player as he acclimatises to the high tempo of the top flight.
"I don’t believe in weight training," said the Frenchman.
"I feel that every player has become better here with the physical challenges because the speed is higher and if you take a bad first touch you lose the ball. When players move to other leagues they tell me ‘I have so much time now, it’s easy. I have time to take a touch, pass the ball and look around’. Here you always have pressure and it makes you a better player.
"Everyone who comes from outside has been told 'be careful of the Premier League. It is tough physically'. You think, 'I know that, and I am a tough boy.' But when you come in to this league, you are surprised by the demands of the physical level and the potential of every single player in the Premier League is very high.
"I am very happy with Arshavin, because he is creating chances in every game, which is a sign of a top player. When he has the ball, you always expect something to happen.
"Once he has adjusted physically, he will be a tremendous player."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 6 Mar 2009