Andrey, fans enjoyed the match against Hull. Tell us what you knew about your opponents.
Before the game I only knew that they won here in the beginning of the season. After the game I learned that our teams also played in the FA Cup semi-final in 1930.
In fact they played twice. The first game finished 2:2 and in the replay gunners came out on top, winning 1:0.
A.A.: It’s great that the tie was settled in one game. It was a bit of an unexpected start for us – we conceded a goal. Basically, we had the initiative and possession of the ball from the beginning and throughout the game. We should have scored first but it turned out otherwise.
Why weren’t you able to find the net for so long?
Our attacks were quite slow, which allowed Hull to close the spaces, in some cases they displayed real heroics. They benefited from using only 1 ball, that was pretty surprising for me. I’m used to having balls scattered around the pitch. Everytime the ball goes out, you have to wait for it. The attack loses momentum because of that, letting defenders get back and close the free spaces, it slows the game down. It gives an advantage to teams who play slower game. They were wasting time as well, I’m glad that the referee started booking them for time-wasting in the beginning of the second half, although he could have started in the first. We obviously needed to strengthen our game and bring on some fresh players that helped us see out our opponents.
What did Arsene Wenger tell you at the break?
He told us that while we were doing the right things, we needed to speed up a bit to get the result. He asked us to stay positive about the game till the final whistle.
Hull City have a tiger on their coat of arms, almost like Luch Vladivostok in Russia. The Tigers from the East Riding of Yorkshire were biting, but not much more than than. Was the result fue to Arsenal’s class?
Yes, our team’s class is higher than Hull’s. On the other hand, we didn’t win just because of that. Today we displayed skill and character. We didn’t have much time to win the game, I’m please that we made it. Any victory feels good, but those won on character are twice as sweet.
Ahead of the game, many newspapers reported that Arshavin might miss the Cup quarter final because of the injury, some reported that you missed yesterday’s training. Wenger later said that you were desperate to play. When did you learn that you will be on the pitch?
I was recommended to train separately from the team but I wanted to train with the guys, not on my own. And it’s always the manager’s decision regarding who’s going to play. When did I learn that I will be playing? 3 hours before the game.
How are you now?
Not worse than ahead of the game.
Van Persie’s goal from your assist was the turning point of the game. It was a nice touch, but tell us didn’t you want to score yourself?
Not really. It was a difficult position. To score from there, I needed to hit the top left corner, an easier option was the pass, which resulted in a goal.
You have the Cup semi-final ahead. It’s going to be another London derby, this time against Chelsea.
That game is long way away. We have several games before that, our thoughts are now on the next one. When it will be time to prepare for Chelsea, we will start thinking about them.
By the way, another of your managers – Guus Hiddink was in the stands as well, did you know about that?
No, I didn’t.
Did you manage to meet him in London?
No.
In Saint Petersburg, you were one of the most popular citizens. Everyone recognized you when you were in town. Your performances for the Gunners generate a lot of attention towards you in Great Britain as well. How do you find that?
In London people don’t really know me but I don’t have a problem with that at all.
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