Arsene Wenger backs 'unhappy' Andrey Arshavin

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Andrey Arshavin will feature against Coventry on Wednesday and admits the forward is unhappy at his lack of playing time.

The Russia international, 31, has made just one substitute appearance this season but could start in the Capital One Cup match at Emirates Stadium.

"He's unhappy he doesn't play because he deeply loves football and practises with 100% commitment," said Wenger.

Youth and experience

Players who could feature for Arsenal against Coventry on Wednesday

  • Andrey Arshavin - forward, 31 years old
  • Andre Santos - left-back, 29
  • Johan Djourou - centre-back, 25
  • Sebastian Squillaci - centre-back, 32
  • Marouane Chamakh - striker, 28
  • Emmanuel Frimpong - midfielder, 20
  • Nico Yennaris - midfielder, 19
  • Craig Eastmond - midfielder, 21
  • Serge Gnabry - winger, 17
  • Hector Bellerin - defender, 17
  • Kris Olsson - midfielder, 17

"I'm happy to give him some competition on Wednesday night."

Arshavin joined Arsenal from Zenit St Petersburg in February 2009 and has scored 30 goals in 137 games for the club.

He enjoyed a spectacular start to life in England, scoring all of his side's goals in their 4-4 draw at Liverpool that season.

Arshavin netted 22 times over the next two campaigns, but only twice in 2011-12 before being loaned back to Zenit in February.

He returned to Arsenal in the summer and came on after 77 minutes of their 0-0 draw with Sunderland on the opening day of the season.

"I have personally a great respect for Andrey because sometimes some wrong ideas circulated about him - that he doesn't care, but it's completely the opposite," explained Wenger.

"He's a 200% professional who works very hard every day in training. At the moment he's a victim of the high level of competition that exists for places.

"I think he has huge respect from everybody in the dressing room, and especially from the staff."

The Frenchman said left-back Andre Santos is another experienced player who will be involved against League One strugglers Coventry in the third-round clash.

Youngsters Hector Bellerin, Kris Olsson, Serge Gnabry, Nico Yennaris, Craig Eastmond and Ignasi Miquel are also expected to play a part.

"Serge Gnabry is a great hope for the future," Wenger added. "He has had some injuries [but] if he continues his development, I think he could play in the first team this season.

"He is in the category of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott - guys who have great power, great pace and good dribbling skills. [He has] goal-scoring potential and good vision as well for the final ball."