The Spaniard admits he’s astonished by his teammate’s ability to score and create for his team, while Arsene Wenger says comparisons with club legend Thierry Henry are justifiedArsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on club captain Robin van Persie after Saturday’s 4-0 win away at Wigan, labelling his teammate a “superstar”.
Since Arteta’s arrival at the end of August, Van Persie has netted 16 times in as many appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, helping propel them back up to fifth in the Premier League and secure a place in the Champions League knockout stages.
With his tally currently standing at 32, the Dutchman is also on course to break Thierry Henry’s record of 34 league goals in a calendar year for Arsenal, set in 2004.
Arteta admits he is full of admiration for Van Persie’s ability to score and create for his team, but hopes the rest of the side can reduce the burden shouldered almost entirely by their talisman in the coming weeks.
“His natural quality is his talent,” the Spaniard told reporters. “He is so good he makes it look as though he is not trying. He scores goals and makes them. He works hard. He is a superstar."
He added, “He is on a terrific run and we hope he can keep it up. But to take pressure off him, you cannot rely on Robin to score the goals all the time. It is not fair."
"It was good for us to share goals around. We have to share the responsibility.”
Boss Arsene Wenger has also been blown away by Van Persie’s blistering form, and the Frenchman believes comparisons with Gunners legend Henry are not unjustified.
“It is amazing, because they have similarities,” he said. “At the start, they are not goalscorers, they are footballers we expect to create something special."
“You do not think they have to score so many goals, but they add that to their game."
"They are more link players, Henry and Van Persie, creative players and not at the end of things.
“It didn’t happen at the beginning of the season. People said, ‘Why is Robin playing centre forward?’ But they have the intelligence to be at the right moment at the right place.”
Wenger also believes the club's summer signings, Arteta included, are beginning to gel with their new teammates, and the Gunners boss is encouraged by the progress of his new team.
“You can see now that it looks much better, that the combinations are much quicker. We want to do well and the mentality of the team is good. We are on the way back.”
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