Arshavin: I deserve criticism

Russian captain Andrei Arshavin has dismissed reports that he is no longer committed to international fold but has admitted that criticism aimed at him for his poor Arsenal form is deserved.

The Gunners midfielder, who moved to Emirates Stadium from Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg in 2009, has struggled for form this season but is determined to prove his critics wrong.

Arshavin, 29, is widely regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League thanks largely to his exploits in Russia's run to the Euro 2008 semi-finals.

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However, he has struggled for form at an international level since, and was disappointed at his country's failure to quality for the recent World Cup in South Africa.

Ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League game against Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk, the playmaker spoke in the official Arsenal match day programme.

“At the moment I think people have been criticising me personally more than the team. I think I deserve it, to be honest, because I haven’t been my best,” he said.

“They say that when I play for Arsenal I’m running, I want to win and am fighting, whereas in Russia I’m just standing in the same spot!

“It’s a suggestion that I don’t want to play for Russia, and of course it’s untrue.  Their expectation is that I should be putting in my best performance every time and I understand that, obviously, and try to do it.”

By Matt Maltby