Arsene Wenger believes that Andrey Arshavin's natural tendency to try and find the killer ball can affect his passing statistics at times, but insists that the attacking midfielder is still an important part of his Arsenal squad.

The 30-year-old Russian has come into criticism from some quarters for his inconsistent performances for the Gunners this season, but Wenger is adamant Arshavin is delivering, and still has plenty to offer.

"He has always been a player who plays on the borderline, if you look at the game against QPR," he told the club's official website. "He is a big gambler, and at the end of the day he gave the ball to Robin van Persie to score in that game. So he is always efficient.

"If you look at his numbers you are always surprised at how good he is.

"Sometimes the visual impression you get from a game has been frustrating, but he is very efficient. We can all have a big responsibility but we need confidence for what we do."

Recent speculation has suggested that Arsenal may be tempted to sell Arshavin during the January transfer window, with reports intimating that he is keen on a return to his native Russia.

However, Wenger has revealed his intentions to keep Arshavin at the Emirates Stadium, and says that confidence is the only thing standing between the support striker and his best form.

"We know he has the talent," he continued. "He's been questioned many times but his attitude has always been spot on.

"He needs to play with confidence and freedom, that is his strength. He is a creative player and you need that fraction of belief and confidence to play with freedom."

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Arsenal
Andrey Arshavin
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