By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has praised Robin van Persie for allowing Emmanuel Adebayor to score a morale-boosting penalty at Blackburn on Saturday.

The Togolese striker got on the Premier League scoresheet for the first time this season when he nodded in Arsenal’s second goal just before half-time at Ewood Park. Van Persie had earlier slotted home an eighth-minute opener, his third of the League campaign.

Therefore when Emmanuel Eboue was fouled in the area nine minutes from time the first-choice penalty-taker agreed to Adebayor’s request that he should take the spot-kick. He scored and, buoyed with self-belief, the 24-year-old went on to complete his hat-trick in injury-time.

“I like the fact that Van Persie gave him the penalty,” said Wenger afterwards.

“That is good for the team spirit as he had not scored before today in the League this season. In the end he got a hat-trick and that will give him the needed confidence.

“The No 1 penalty-taker is Van Persie, the No 2 is Adebayor. But they have the right to reverse it. So this decision is down to Van Persie. He gave the ball to Adebayor, who had asked him if he could take it.

“Last week, Van Persie scored two, this weekend Adebayor scored aswell. I believe this shows that the team has a collective spirit and everybody can score.”

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15 Sep 2008