History buff Arshavin shocked at being skipper

Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin says he was surprised to be handed the captaincy against Portsmouth last weekend.

The 27-year-old had only partaken in nine Premier League games prior to the Gunners' 3-0 win at Fratton Park, with the diminutive Russian having adjusted to English football at an alarming pace since his arrival at the beginning of February.

But the playmaker - who has already netted six league goals for Arsene Wenger's outfit, including four against Liverpool at Anfield - admitted that he had not expected to be handed the armband so soon, despite being the oldest player in the squad to face Paul Hart's side.

"Honestly, it was somewhat unexpected," he told the Russian press. "Fabregas and Kolo Toure didn't play, nor did some other senior players.

"I was the oldest in the team, so perhaps that's why Arsene chose me."

And the former Zenit St Petersburg man revealed how he used last weekend's trip to Portsmouth to take in some history of the local seaside town.

"The history of the city is really interesting," he said.

"Today I learned that King Richard the Lionheart paid particular attention to this town. And I was told that Charles Dickens was born near here.

"I saw the sea and lots of yachts. I didn't see the city, but on the bus travelling here I noticed a very beautiful coastline."

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