By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger believes Robin van Persie has positional sense akin to Lionel Messi.

On Saturday, the Dutchman bagged a brace against Bolton at Emirates Stadium – making it 26 goals in 31 games for Arsenal in 2011 and a century for the Club overall.

When he arrived from Feyenoord in May 2004, Van Persie was a left winger or second striker. These days he is employed as a lone frontman. But, according to his manager, the 28-year-old is not a traditional centre forward and the boss likens his movement to probably the best player on the planet.

“I see similarities, positional-wise, with Messi,” said Wenger.

“He likes to come deep and he likes to turn up, up front. Don't make me make a comparison with Messi but it is just that positional-wise he is not really like the real centre forward.

“When you look at his movement around the box it is very intelligent because he goes on the diagonal runs very well.

“He has a short backlift for his size and I always thought that because his first touch is so good in a small space he can make a difference. “

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 26 Sep 2011