By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger sees no reason why Robin van Persie can’t score 25 goals this season.
The Dutchman topped Arsenal’s scoring charts with 20 last term and has already netted eight times in the current campaign, including a brace in the North London derby win over Tottenham on Saturday.
Van Persie took time to adapt to his new role as the figurehead of Wenger’s front three but a run of seven goals in seven games proves he has found his feet as a centre forward.
The Arsenal manager was full of praise for Van Persie after he topped and tailed the 3-0 win over Spurs. As far as Wenger is concerned, if Arsenal keep creating chances, the 26-year-old will keep taking them.
“I don’t want to set targets but why not?” said the Frenchman.
“If you look at the chances he has had since the start of the season you cannot say he won’t reach 25 goals.
“Robin has taken much more responsibility because he is up front. He has committed himself to the club for a long period and he is at an age, 26, where a footballer becomes really efficient, mature and wants to win things.
“That is why I believe he can be the best passer in the league and the best goalscorer in the league. When you look at the goals he scores they are always impressive.”
Van Persie operated in a ‘second striker’ role for much of his Arsenal career and often plays on the right of a front three for Holland. That’s why a few eyebrows were raised when Wenger deployed him as the centre forward in his new 4-3-3 formation but the Frenchman always had Van Persie in mind for that role.
“You don’t see him at the start as a target man but when you play him there you see he has everything of a target man,” explained Wenger.
“He has a short backlift, he is an intelligent player and turns very quickly. What he has around the box is very difficult to give to a striker. He moves away from the defenders around the box in a very perfect way. The timing of his runs are fantastic and that is why I thought he could play there.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 2 Nov 2009