By Chris Harris
Andrey Arshavin is not a source of frustration for Arsène Wenger because he is following his manager's instructions.
The Russian playmaker burst onto the Premier League scene in the first half of 2009 and has always been a regular source of goals for Arsenal, but he has not been at his sparkling best this season.
That was certainly the case against Partizan Belgrade on Wednesday night when little came off for the 29-year-old before he was replaced by Theo Walcott in the second half.
But Wenger is not concerned. As he explained at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Arshavin is charged with the responsibility of making the decisive yet difficult passes that open up defences - and is therefore more prone to errors.
"He has a game that is based on risk," said Wenger.
"He tries to make incisive passes so of course when he takes one risk and it doesn’t work for him he takes another one. So sometimes people are impatient with his decision making.
"But if you look at the numbers of Arshavin in the Premier League you will see that he is the best passer and has more assists than anybody so that means [his game is] based on gambling but as well [it is] very efficient.
"He doesn’t frustrate me because I invite him to play the game that is Arshavin’s game. That means to go forward and provoke.
"There are some days it doesn’t work but Arshavin has great quality: he analyses very well, is very honest and has a fantastic objective assessment of his own performance. He is very demanding for himself so I have a huge respect for him."Copyright 2017 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