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Andrey Arshavin admits that he has found himself in an unfamiliar situation early in the 2012/13 season.
While the Russian forward starred, and scored, in Wednesday night’s 6-1 Capital One Cup win over Coventry City, he has had to bide his time for Premier League action - making just one appearance, as a substitute, in the opening-day draw with Sunderland.
He told the Official Matchday Programme: “It’s been very difficult for me - my first time in this position, really. Of course I really want to be playing, but I still try to keep in as good a condition as possible and I hope I’ll have more chances soon. It was very good to score against Coventry, I enjoyed that.”
The 31 year-old’s fitness is certainly giving cause for optimism, with his physical performance in training at its highest level during his time at Arsenal.
“My figures are the best ever!” he said. “This summer I felt very good physically, it’s true. All of my exercise, especially the endurance side, has gone better than ever. We’ll find out how important that’s been when I’m playing.”
While Arshavin is desperate to be unleashed on top-flight defences once more, he accepts that the Gunners have made a strong start to the season all over the pitch - and pinpoints what he believes the primary factor to have been.
“The difference between this year and last year, in my opinion, is that we are playing more collectively,” he said.
“I think we are helping each other more on the pitch defensively - last year it wasn’t up to this level. I haven’t seen the exact statistics, but I think we’re playing a more compact game.
“My aim is to be part of it, to play football and focus on Arsenal. I think that, if I have the chance, I can do well.”