By Nick Teale
Any footballer would be frustrated if they were forced to miss five months of action. But Robin van Persie's form prior to being sidelined made his long-term absence even tougher to take.
The Dutchman suffered ankle ligament damage during an international match in Italy on November 14, forcing him to miss a large part of the season.
He returned to action against Tottenham earlier this month and was back in the starting XI for the Gunners' goalless draw with Man City on Saturday.
The initial plan was for the striker to play about an hour but, after consultation with Head Physio Colin Lewin, he decided to play the entire match.
Speaking after the draw, Van Persie explained that his frustration at being sidelined was intensified by the fact that he was in such good form prior to the injury.
"It is hard [to be out] when you are on a good run and your team are playing well, everything was coming together at that time.
"We were all playing for each other, having assists and scoring goals. You go away with a good feeling to play for your country and come back injured again, it is hard.
"I am so pleased to be back. The plan was to play for 60 to 70 minutes.
"I had some contact with the physio about that time, and everything felt good so we played on. He asked how I was. I said my back was fine and my muscles were working, so I just wanted to play on."