By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger says Robin van Persie's failure to score against Wigan was a result of excellent defending - not the Dutchman's fitness levels.

Van Persie has netted 34 times in all competitions this season and is a firm favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award on Sunday. But he was kept at bay when Roberto Martinez's side left Emirates Stadium with three points on Monday.

Van Persie will make his 50th appearance of the season for club and country when Chelsea visit north London on Saturday but Wenger insists his captain is not jaded.

"No, he is physically good," said the manager. "He has a very healthy life, very focused on football - he takes care of everything. That's why he manages to do that. He is like Thierry Henry in that respect.

"When you play 50 games at that level you suffer a little bit. But on the actual night [against Wigan] I think he suffered a little bit because we didn't create a lot, and you have to give Wigan credit for that.

"I think first if all [50 games is] beyond expectation and for a striker it's massive. It's important for Robin to get a breather before the European Championships - that will be very important."

Copyright 2014 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 20 Apr 2012