Arshavin may start in defensive midfield

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Updated: September 5, 2011

Russia manager Dick Advocaat has said he may start the diminutive Andrei Arshavin in defensive midfield due to the suspension of Igor Denisov who usually lines out for Russia in a holding role.

Denis Glushakov, Roman Shirokov and Igor Semshov, who played defensive midfielder under Guus Hiddink, are more conventional candidates for the position but Advocaat has been so impressed by Arshavin’s form at international level he may be prepared to play the Arsenal man in the centre.

“I also expressed my appreciation to Andrey’s display in his game against Macedonia. I’ve never seen him being so good in my team. And not just in attack, but in defensive actions also”, he said of the winger-cum-attacking midfielder.

Other than the suspension of Denisov, Russia have a fully fit squad to choose from and Advocaat says that Armenia could play a vital role in Russia’s progress to Euro 2012 while expressing his relief that Slovakia could not seal a win in the Aviva stadium on Friday night.

“We are now two points ahead of the nearest rivals and even in the case of a draw at Luzhniki, we will maintain the same gap from the Irish”, the former Rangers manager said.

“Of course, we will try to win. And if the Slovaks would have won in Dublin, it would have been the worst-case scenario because it would have denied us an opportunity to play a draw in Slovakia.”

Slovakia entertain Armenia on Tuesday evening with a 19.15 kick off meaning they will have a much clearer view of what is required to inch past Ireland in the group as the game in Russia gets under way at 16.00.

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