By Joe Brewin
Robin van Persie says his lack of injuries over the last 12 months has lifted a weight from his shoulders.
The striker’s sensational calendar year saw him notch his 35th Premier League goal against QPR on Saturday - a new Club record.
Van Persie’s previous seasons in an Arsenal shirt have been hampered by fitness issues and the Dutchman has never felt better than he does right now.
“That is the main thing,” he said. “I could play relaxed and enjoy myself. I could go from strength to strength. I could feel that every single game I was getting fitter and better, which is an unbelievable feeling.
“I have had some knocks in the past but 2011 was clear with no injuries and I could enjoy myself. I was playing, having fun – as everyone could see.
“Not long ago I wasn’t even convinced I could play as a main striker. So I was not [expecting so many goals] at all but stuff like this happens when you are feeling relaxed and enjoying the game.”
Van Persie’s new milestone surpassed Thierry Henry’s 34-goal haul back in 2004 and the captain has targeted Alan Shearer’s total of 36 as his next step in 2012.
“Thierry, is in my opinion, Arsenal’s best ever player,” he said. “He set that record, is an unbelievable player but on this one, I have just beat him! I fell one short of Shearer’s record but maybe next year.
“I am a sportsman, you want to achieve the highest. My main thing is to win games but I want to achieve the highest possible.
“This was one thing I could achieve a little more than Thierry in one year but just short of Shearer. You can look at it in many ways.
“It has been a great year, thanks to my team-mates, mainly. I could not have done it without them. They have been unbelievable. Theo has given me so many assists. All the players have been absolutely fantastic.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 1 Jan 2012