By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger would like Arsenal's fans to show respect to Robin van Persie on Saturday.

The Manchester United striker faces his old club for the first time this weekend after ending his eight-year association with Arsenal in the summer.

Van Persie scored 132 goals in 278 games for Wenger's side and the Frenchman hopes the travelling supporters will cut him some slack at Old Trafford.

"I don't know [what reception he'll get but] I hope it is a respectful one because he has played for us for eight years, he has done very well for us," said Wenger.

"You want him to be respected. We campaign against discrimination, it was still the case last week so why should it not be the case this week? I don't know [what the fans will do], I think he will get the reception I hope for.

"Saturday's game is not about Van Persie. Not for us and I don’t think for him, as well. For us, what is important is the result at the end of the game, and the quality of our performance. We do not even talk about him."

Wenger brought Van Persie to England in 2004 and, like others before him, transformed the Dutchman from a raw talent into a world-class performer. The Arsenal manager was sorry to see the 29-year-old leave but is proud of the role he played in Van Persie's career.

"You would think that one of the parts of my job is to have a positive influence on people’s [lives] as a player," he said. "When you manage to do that, you are always kind of satisfied. You want to try and have a positive influence on people you cross in your life. I think my influence was not too bad.

"It is very difficult to answer [how much we miss him] because at the moment I am focused on doing well with the players I have. To start to think how much do we miss him will not help us to do well.

"I am not surprised by how well he is doing. In Manchester United, you have good players around him, and Robin is very intelligent around the box. His runs are fantastic, his technique is absolutely amazing, so I’m not surprised.

"There are a lot of players in offensive positions, so with his intelligent runs, of course he will take advantage of that. He’s certainly the most efficient striker."

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1 Nov 2012