Thursday 22 February 2018

Van Persie the hero once more

Ben Findon , at The Emirates

We don't need Batman, we've got Robin, reads the banner draped from the top tier of the Emirates stands. Quite so. Robin van Persie's clinically dispatched 13th goal of the season pointed Arsenal towards another comfortable success.

And, just for good measure, the Dutchman laid on the opportunities for Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta to complete victory.

Arsene Wenger's side have now won nine of their last 11 games in all competitions, that humiliation at Manchester United receding ever further into the distance.

As Wenger's summer purchases bed in -- and Arteta, Andre Santos and Gervinho were all hugely influential here -- so Arsenal look an increasingly effective force.

Especially with Van Persie, who became the Premier League's top marksman with his 22nd-minute opener, in such lethal form. Given a substitute's role in the goalless midweek draw with Marseille, Van Persie, on from the start, was quick to show the predatory instincts that destroyed Chelsea seven days earlier.

"It's difficult to stop him. He wasn't only a goalscorer but a provider today and that's what I like with strikers. He is world class," said Wenger, who was satisfied with his team's work. "It was a controlled performance, complete domination, we were never really in trouble. We are getting stronger."

The opening goal was simply constructed and easily converted. Aaron Ramsey located Theo Walcott and his clean strike was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Ben Foster, Van Persie -- who else? -- was following in to score one of his simpler efforts of a goal-strewn season.

Van Persie turned provider six minutes before the break. Alex Song's cross was hooked back into the danger zone by Van Persie and Vermaelen crashed home from 10 yards.

Arteta wrapped it all up near the end, placing carefully home after Van Persie had astutely guided Andre Santos's cross into his path.


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