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Gunners duo to get a chance

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26 Sep 2012 07:16:00

Gunners duo to get a chance

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is to give '200% professional' Andrey Arshavin the chance to impress in their Capital One Cup tie against Coventry. 


 The 31-year-old Russian has made only one substitute appearance this season, having returned from a loan spell at his former club Zenit St Petersburg. It was anticipated Arshavin, signed in January 2009 for £15million, would rejoin his old team on a permanent move during the last transfer window, only for the proposed switch to fall through. Wenger, though, insists Arshavin has never once lost focus, despite now being on the fringes of the squad after once being an integral part of the side. 

"I have personally a great respect for Andrey Arshavin because sometimes some wrong ideas circulated about him - that he doesn't care, but it's completely the opposite," Wenger told Arsenal Player. 

"He is a 200% professional who works every day very hard in training."

"At the moment he is a victim of the high level of competition that exists for places."

"I think he has a huge respect from everybody in the dressing room, and especially from the staff. We will give him of course some competition on Wednesday night."

"I feel he is unhappy he does not play because deeply he loves football and he practises every day with 100% commitment."

"I am happy to give him some competition on Wednesday night." 

Wenger will again utilise a blend of youth and experience tomorrow night. England forward Theo Walcott is another who has struggled to make an impact this season, but he should start, along with Brazil international Andre Santos and Swiss defender Johan Djourou. French striker Olivier Giroud has yet to find the net since his summer move from Montpellier, so will have a great opportunity to break that duck tomorrow. Meanwhile, combative midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong is set to return to action after recovering from a serious knee injury sustained when he was on loan at Wolves last season. 

Wenger said: "It is a big moment because he has suffered for a long time and has worked extremely hard, like Jack [Wilshere]."

"He will be back for the first time on the bench. Ideally we should have waited a bit longer to include him again, but once you're back, you want so much a chance to be involved, so I want to give him a chance to be involved at least." 

Wenger added: "Physically Emmanuel has never been as fit as he is now. That should come out in the next two months."

"You need some competitions and certainly he will be involved when we play at West Brom with the reserves, so that will be a game for him."

"He is ready to have a go, is a competitive boy and a fighter. Of course this type of player always wants to be involved." 

Youngsters Ignasi Miquel and Nico Yennaris, as is 17-year-old Germany youth international Serge Gnabry. Wenger said: 

"Serge Gnabry is a great hope for the future. I rate him highly."

"He is in the category of [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott - guys who have great power, great pace, good dribbling skills, goal scoring potential and good vision as well for the final ball."

"He can play central behind the striker or on the flanks." 

"If he continues his development, I think he could play this season in the first team, but at the moment he needs to work and ensure he remains fit." 

Coventry were once established members of the top flight, but are now looking to rebuild under new manager Mark Robins. Wenger is aware of the potential threat of a team with nothing to lose. 

"We have always managed to deal well with these games and I hope we will do it again," 

said Wenger, whose side continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Sunday. 

"But let's not look at their position in the table because a cup game is a cup game. "Everybody forgets their current position and just focuses on a possibly exceptional day for them, so let's just prepare properly and focus on the match."


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