It took him a little time but Robin van Persie is now flying in his new role as Arsenal’s main striker.

The Dutchman admitted to finding the central position a ‘lonely’ one in the opening weeks of the campaign and failed to find the net in his first five appearances.

But Van Persie broke his duck with a supreme finish at Manchester City in September and has not looked back. His North London derby brace on Saturday took his tally to eight in the last nine games.

So why has it suddenly gone so right for Robin? He explained why in an exclusive interview with the Official Matchday Programme.

“In the last four or five weeks I’ve felt much better,” he said.

“I’ve had to get used to the new role because I previously played as a second striker and now I’m operating as a main striker, so I needed to find my way in.

“To my mind, earlier in the season I lost too much energy working defensively and needed to find the right balance. It’s really important for the team that I have enough energy to score goals and make assists, as well as helping out in other ways.

“I feel that in the last few weeks I’ve found that mix, of having the energy to do my offensive work and contribute defensively.

“It was hard in the first few weeks to really find my way – the second striker and striker are very close to each other on the pitch but at the same time there’s such a difference, a massive difference, between the two roles.

“ I like it because it’s a new challenge for me and if you look at the results and the personal stats of almost every player, everyone has improved with the new system.”

This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
2 Nov 2009