Wenger believes in 'dangerous' Arshavin
Arsene Wenger is convinced Andrey Arshavin can make the difference for Arsenal next season. The Russian came off the bench in the second half to net a late double in the final five minutes as the Gunners beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the Emirates Cup.
Arshavin arrived in England from Zenit St Petersburg during the January transfer window, but could not play in the UEFA Champions League and took some time to settle before coming good over the closing stages of the campaign - which included a brilliant four-goal haul at Anfield.
While Wenger does not want to put too much extra pressure on the 28-year-old, he accepts Arshavin will be key to his squad's chances. "The difference is now he knows how English football works," said the Arsenal manager. "He knows as well he is part of the team from the start, and the team knows how important and how big an impact he can have on the results."
Arshavin has what you cannot give to a player - he understands when there is an opportunity in the final third, and is certainly dangerous.
"There was also a welcome home return for Czech winger Tomas Rosicky, who had been out of action for some 18 months with a string of niggling injuries - and his availability for the build-up to the new campaign will be welcome boost following the loss of Samir Nasri to a broken leg.
"I am pleased, but cautious," Wenger said. "I am not a dreamer. If he gets through the next two months without set-backs, then we have won the battle, but it is not won yet."
Teenager Jack Wilshere was introduced at half-time and impressed enough to pick up the man of the match award. The 17-year-old is set to challenge for a place in Wenger's first-team squad.
"He has matured, and compared to one year ago he has more power to take people on. That shows there is big potential there and makes him much more dangerous," said the Arsenal boss.
"At that age, unfortunately patience is not the first quality, but he is at a big club and has a chance to compete at the top level. We have to manage that well, the desire and the opportunity to play."