Chamakh taking his time over return

Moroccan international Marouane Chamakh has admitted his struggle in keeping up with the physical side of the Premier League and feels that he will not be 100 percent ready for the Arsenal first team until March.

The 27-year-old target-man, who moved to Emirates Stadium on a free transfer during the summer after lighting up Ligue 1 with Bordeaux, has made a steady start to life as a Gunner with a return of 10 goals in 32 appearances.

However, he feels that the pressure was starting to take its toll.

With Robin van Persie fit again and back in form, manager Arsene Wenger has opted to give Chamakh a rest in recent weeks. And Chamakh feels it is a blessing in disguise that he has been giving time to find his feet again.

Chamakh, though, believes that he is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness and is wary of the fact that he will not just walk back into the Arsenal side, after the Gunners fought back to defeat Barcelona at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

"By the start of January I felt that I had completely lost my edge," he said.

"It was there for all to see. I am only human, so I've been given some rest. Besides, Arsenal have been able to profit from Robin van Persie's form. He's walking on water right now, everything he tries comes off.

"It is a blessing in disguise, as the team is doing well and I'm able to get some rest. I hope to play again soon, but it could be in March rather than February.

"But it is not serious. I am here to learn, both in training and matches, and also to improve my game and to acclimatise to London and English football.

"God willing, it will not take too long to happen for me. I am fully aware of my new status as a substitute since Van Persie's return to the side. Besides, Nicklas Bendtner is a sub as well. But it is all about what the players do out on the pitch. I am not worried."

By Matt Maltby