Van Per­sie reaches goals mile­stone to bring smiles back for Gun­ners

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - Sport football -

ROBIN van Per­sie was glad to put a smile back on the faces of Arse­nal’s fans fol­low­ing his match-win­ning per­for­mance in Satur­day’s 3-0 de­feat of Bolton.

Arse­nal’s wor­ry­ing start to the sea­son took a turn for the bet­ter when they picked up their sec­ond win of the sea­son to move away from the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Van Per­sie was the Gun­ners’ de­stroyer-in-chief, driv­ing past Jussi Jaaske­lainen in the sec­ond half be­fore turn­ing home with a clever flick from Theo Wal­cott’s cross to put the Lon­don­ers 2-0 up be­fore Alex Song sealed the win late on.

The win brought to an end a dif­fi­cult pe­riod, which saw Arse­nal drop to 17th in the Bar­clays Premier League ta­ble with a 4-3 de­feat to strug­glers Black­burn.

The win also made van Per­sie only the 17th Arse­nal player to score 100 goals.

The Arse­nal cap­tain was happy to reach the land­mark, but was also de­lighted to help lift the gloom which has sur­rounded the club af­ter their slow start.

“I’m very proud. I’m only the 17th player in the his­tory of Arse­nal play­ers to pass 100 goals. It is a big achieve­ment,” van Per­sie said. “The ball will get a nice place in my liv­ing room now. The fans were amaz­ing again. It has been hard for them and us but we can move for­ward now.

“You could see ev­ery­one smil­ing af­ter, say­ing ‘this is what we want’.”

Arse­nal boss Arsene Wenger, who has been the sub­ject of crit­i­cism from some fans, agrees with van Per­sie that the re­sult has given the Lon­don­ers a lift ahead of a huge week that sees the club take on Olympia­cos and Tot­ten­ham in the north Lon­don derby.

“We were un­der pres­sure and it was not easy for us,” Wenger said.

“You could feel the re­lief among the fans, the team and the staff, but some days you have to turn up and just get the re­sult.”

Wenger signed van Per­sie as a winger when he paid a mere £2.75m for the Dutch­man’s ser­vices seven years ago.

But like Thierry Henry, van Per­sie has gone on to blos­som into a full-blown cen­tre-for­ward and is also now cap­tain fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Cesc Fabre­gas to Barcelona.

Wenger ad­mits the former Feyeno­ord striker is a hugely im­por­tant part of his team and hopes he can avoid the same in­jury prob­lems which caused him to miss part of the early stages of last term.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine our team with­out him. Let’s hope, touch wood, that he re­mains with us in ev­ery sin­gle game,” the French­man said.

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