By Richard Clarke
It is far too tempting simply to proclaim Robin van Persie as the new Dennis Bergkamp. But the retirement of one of Arsenal's Dutch strikers has allowed another to blossom in his stead.
Van Persie has hit three exquisite goals in the two Christmas games so far. With Thierry Henry and Emmanuel Adebayor set to miss Saturday's trip to Sheffield United there is even more responsibility on the 23-year-old ex-Feyenoord front man.
His manager believes he can handle the pressure of that situation and those comparisons with his compatriot.
"I think Robin is much more mature on the pitch now," said Arsène Wenger. "But he has developed into a team player. He works hard for the them. Like in the last game he created so many chances in the first half but only had one in the second and scored - and in a great style.
"There is some Bergkamp in the way he finishes - open-footed and clean. He makes quick decisions and he has developed his team play to get where the defenders don't want him to be.
"He now has a good mixture of going forward and dropping off. Dennis has that. It is difficult to teach someone where to be on the pitch. The first quality a footballer must have is where to stand on the football pitch and he senses that."
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 28 Dec 2006