x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Arshavin is finding it tough going

Andrei Arshavin used to watch English football and thought it would be easy playing in the Premier League.

Andrei Arshavin used to watch English football and thought it would be easy playing in the Premier League. Not so, as his Arsenal strike partner Nicklas Bendtner will testify. The Dane has often been the subject of ridicule. Some of his misses have been painful to watch. But Arsene Wenger's faith in him was vindicated by his two goals as the Gunners beat West Brom 3-1. His performance brought praise from the Arsenal manager and Arshavin himself sympathised with the fact it was not easy playing in what many regard as the toughest league in the world.

"I watched the matches broadcast in Russia whenever possible," Arshavin said. "But it seemed less difficult on TV. Only now do I understand how dynamic and hard the football is here." Arshavin did impress with his skills and created a goal for Kolo Toure, who later went off with a calf injury. But the Russian playmaker added: "Now I would like to score as soon as possible. Everybody expected me to score in my first match but that never happens, especially with me. Nothing was easy and immediate for me. Arsenal is no exception. So I need patience and hard work now."

West Brom, meanwhile, are almost certain to drop back into the Championship unless they show more fight. That is the view of their midfielder Chris Brunt, who said: "We're not the most aggressive of sides, but when the ball comes into the box you have to put your head on it and not doing that is what's costing us." @Email:akhan@thenational.ae