By Adam Clark

If Alexander Hleb wants to continue passing up the chance to shoot, he has his manager's blessing.
The Belarus international started the season with two goals in two games but in Saturday's 1-0 win over Manchester City he was like the Hleb of old, sometimes looking for a killer pass when a shot at goal seemed the simpler option.

The 26-year-old's persistence paid off with 10 minutes remaining as Cesc Fabregas latched on to his threaded throughball to smash the winning goal.

Asked if Hleb looks too often to pass through the eye of a needle, Arsène Wenger encouraged the midfielder to continue playing to his particular strengths - even if it results in the occasional misplaced pass.

"That's his game, you know," said the Arsenal manager. "In every game, in every quality, you have the negatives as well the positives. Alex Hleb can play through a needle, and he can, as well, miss a pass because he tries to play through the needle, and sometimes it can be a little bit annoying.

"But today he gave a goal to Fabregas - an assist - and the penalty was on him, and at the end of the day you look at how effective a guy is and I like him as a player.

"It doesn't annoy me. And if you ask any supporter of Arsenal Football Club if Hleb is a good football player I don't think you will find one who will say 'no'."

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27 Aug 2007