MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin has refused to back the club for the English Premier League title over fears that he could jinx the North London side's attempt to lift its first championship since 2004.
"I'm not going to name Arsenal so as not to put a hex on them," he said when asked by the Russian sports.ru website for his opinion on which sides would challenge for the title.
Arshavin is expected to start for Russia against Argentina in a Moscow friendly on Wednesday evening. Arsenal start their 2009/10 league campaign with a match against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Arsenal follow that with a trip to Glasgow for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League playoff against Celtic, and Arshavin was critical of the scheduling of the game with Argentina.
"Of course, the friendly comes at an inconvenient time for me. Before this, Arsenal played a friendly in Spain, then I flew to Moscow on the 9th, on the 13th I'm flying to London, and then a day later I'm heading to Liverpool with the team for the game against Everton," he said.
The Russian forward, voted the side's second best player by Arsenal fans last season despite only signing in February, also said that it was better that Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor had left for Manchester City before the season kicked off rather than mid-season.
"We have a lot of great footballers," he said, "so we'll try to replace them. In any case, it's better that it happened now rather than during the season - in that event we would have had to rework our tactics."