By Richard Clarke

Robin van Persie had just about accepted he would never score a hat-trick in English football – and then Saturday came along.

The Dutchman scored after 21 and 59 minutes to secure victory for Arsenal against Wigan at Emirates Stadium. But it seemed he’d missed the opportunity for a first treble when he hacked a penalty over the bar 20 minutes from full time. However, redemption arrived just before the whistle when Van Persie fired home at the near post.

The 27-year-old had hit two goals in nine Premier League games before Saturday and he admitted afterwards that his failure to add a third had become an issue for him.

“It was my first ever hat-trick,” he said. “I scored five goals when I was 19 for Feyenoord in the Dutch FA Cup against an amateur side. But that doesn't really count so this was my first hat-trick.

“It means a lot because I've been here a long time. It was about time. I had come so close so many times. I'd scored two goals and then I hit the bar or the post. I was unlucky.

“If I'm really honest, I was starting to think: ‘Why can I not score a hat-trick?’ I'd come so close and then hit the woodwork. Last week it happened again, funnily enough, against West Ham when I scored two goals and then hit the post.

“So I started to sort of accept it a little bit and that's when you score one. It's really funny. I just thought: "You know what? I'm just never going to score a hat-trick. I'll just score two goals.

“The same thing happened on Saturday if I'm honest because I missed the penalty. I don't really miss them that often. I've only missed two in my whole career, so I was gutted about it. I was disappointed with myself because maybe the occasion got to me a little bit.”

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24 Jan 2011