By Nick Ames
Robin van Persie believes Arsenal’s form against other leading lights of the Premier League can stand them in good stead when Chelsea visit Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners have put the likes of Tottenham, Newcastle and Manchester City to the sword with commanding displays recently, but suffered a setback on Monday evening at the hands of relegation-threatened Wigan.
Van Persie is confident that he and his team-mates will rise to the challenge against Roberto Di Matteo’s in-form Chelsea side.
Speaking in the Official Matchday Programme, he said: “We have to win, it’s as simple as that, and I can promise you that we will go for it. We’ve proved that we can perform in the big games against top teams, and it’s up to us to show it again.
“Everybody is looking forward to it, and to bouncing back from the Wigan result because we need to put that right. We have everything that it takes to put in another very good performance.”
Having defeated Tottenham and Barcelona in the past week, Chelsea understandably go into the game full of confidence. Van Persie believes that they will provide their usual stern test tomorrow – and that their Champions League semi-final exertions are unlikely to have much bearing as they seek to push Arsenal for third place in the Premier League.
“Chelsea have picked up considerably in recent weeks and had a great result against Barcelona on Wednesday,” he said.
“They defended unbelievably well and were very strong on the counter-attack, with Didier Drogba having a really good game. At times they defended with eight or nine men, but you can hardly blame them for doing that against Barcelona.
"If they put in a performance like that on Saturday, it will be hard for us – but it will also be interesting to see how they approach today’s game in the middle of two massive Champions League fixtures. They only played two and a half days ago, and had to work hard against a lot of Barcelona possession the other day, so we’ll see what their manager decides to do.
“Whoever starts the game for them, I expect them to provide a very big test because they have next season’s Champions League at stake too and will not want to slip up.”
- Read Robin's captain's notes in Saturday's Official Matchday Programme. Click here to subscribe