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Adapted Arshavin Dominant, 'Dictating Play' for Arsenal

  • FIFA.com, Wednesday, March 25, 2009 4:15 PM
Although it admittedly took him a little while to settle in with the pace and physicality of the English game, especially after not playing in a league match since November with former team and 2008 UEFA Cup champs Zenit St. Petersburg, Arsenal's expensive transfer toy Andrei Arshavin is producing instant dividends upon earning a starting role with the Gunners.

"He has completely adapted now. He's not just scoring, he's dictating the play too," said Russia coach Guus Hiddink, who has been keeping a watchful eye over the rosy-cheeked striker while at Chelsea and called him in for this weekend's World Cup qualifier. Arshavin's immediate impact has surprised his own coach even more, with Arsene Wenger admitting, "I've always said that you should never expect anything of a January signing until the following season, but Andrei has shown me that I was wrong."

The minds on the sidelines aren't the only fans, as teammates have heaped praise on the diminutive midseason pickup, saying "He knows exactly what he wants" [Gael Clichy], "Every time he goes out on the pitch he performs" [Bacary Sagna], and "He's made all the difference since he came here. You can see right away that he's a special player" [Cesc Fabregas].

 

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