Wenger jumps to Arshavin defence

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has jumped to the defence of forward Andrei Arshavin amid allegations that the Russian national side prepared for their World Cup play-off by partying into the early hours.

Allegations were made by Russian television programme, Channel One’s ‘Men & Law’, in which a waiter from the Marriott Grand Hotel in Moscow claimed Guus Hiddink’s side were drinking and smoking heavily just hours prior to their first-leg tie with Slovenia.

The Russian FA have launched an investigation into reports of inappropriate behaviour ahead of the crucial play-off in which Arshavin and co suffered a shock defeat and, ultimately, missed out on a place in South Africa.

Wenger, however, is adamant the claims are false and insists Arshavin is a model professional.

“He’s a serious player, I don’t doubt his commitment at all and I don’t believe a word of it,” he said.

“When I see him, how he prepares for games, he’s an example to other players in his approach.”

The Arsenal boss previously admitted the 23-year-old had been left devastated following Russia’s shock failure to reach the World Cup.

Arshavin later conceded his performances so far this season had been below-par, but put his disappointment of missing out on next summer’s tournament behind him by netting in the Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Stoke City on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Russian Football Union have confirmed they intend to discover exactly what happened in Moscow.

“We have sent official letters to Channel One’s management and to the Marriott Grand, asking them to provide explanations about the reliability of the reported information,” a statement on their website read.

“After receiving an appropriate response we will determine our position regarding the dignity of the players. We will also meet with the team coaches for them to express their opinion about the incident.”