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Arshavin: Playing in the Premier League is not easy

Andrei Arshavin has revealed that playing in the Premier League has been more difficult than he first imagined.

Arshavin joined Arsenal at the start of 2009 from Zenit St Petersburg and has now become a firm fans' favourite after bagging 12 goals in 27 league games and playing a starring role in games against Liverpool. However, the Russian admits things in England have been tougher than expected.

"I expected before I moved to England, if you are a good player if you play for a big team it is easier," Arshavin told Sky Sports News. "But even if you play against Burnley or Wolverhampton, it is not easy - you don't have time to turn or do any dribbling, if you get two touches you're lucky."

Arshavin is hopeful Arsenal will mount a serious title challenge in the New Year but admits they cannot afford to drop many more points, after already losing four games this season.

"We have had some chances to be very close to the top but we have not taken them so I am a little disappointed," he said. "But now if we win games in hand we are still in the race but at the same time we cannot lose more points."

Arshavin was also full of praise for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

"He gave me freedom, he requires of me to play as I see on the pitch," he said, while also paying tribute to the Gunners faithful, adding: "I am happy, I sometimes think they like me more than my wife."

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