Arsene Wenger believes Andrey Arshavin is over his confidence problem and is adamant that his club-record signing will now play a major part in Arsenal's quest for four trophies, WRITES JEREMY WILSON.
For the first time since his arrival in England two years ago, Arshavin has been dropped from Wenger's starting line-up in both the Premier and Champions League.
However, he came on to score the winner against Barcelona in last week's 2-1 victory at the Emirates.
"He was troubled by confidence problems for a while," said Wenger. "He is now back and that goal against Barcelona helped him. But before Barcelona you already felt he was in good form again.
"A top-level player lives for success and, when it doesn't go for him for a while, you question, 'what am I not doing right and why?'. I have seen so many big players and they all go through periods like that."
The return to form of Arshavin presents a quandary for Wenger's team selection against Stoke City tonight, with Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott competing with him to play behind the main striker.
Robin van Persie (hamstring) and Laurent Koscielny (back) miss out, although both hope to return for Sunday's Carling Cup final against Birmingham City. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Arsenal (possible, 4-2-3-1) -- Szczesny; Sagna, Djourou, Squillaci, Clichy; Song, Wilshere; Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri; Chamakh.
Stoke City (possible, 4-4-2) -- Begovic; Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Pugh; Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Walters; Carew, Jones.