Wenger: RVP like Messi

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Arsene Wenger has highlighted similarities between Robin van Persie and Barcelona star Lionel Messi, following the former's latest brace for Arsenal.

The striker netted his 99th and 100th goals for the Gunners on Saturday as Arsenal comprehensively defeated Bolton 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

Van Persie has now scored 26 times in his last 31 Arsenal outings, but Wenger does not view the Dutchman as a traditional centre-forward.

The Arsenal boss does, however, see a positional similarity between his captain and Messi; with both proving deadly in front of goal due to their spacial awareness.

“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."

Van Persie, meanwhile, has reinforced the sentiments of his manager, claiming he does see himself as a 'main striker' but rather a forward who tries to be as involved as possible.

“I don't really see it as a main striker position,” he said. “In Holland we call positions by their numbers - No 9 is the main striker and No 10 is the one just behind.

“I prefer to call myself nine-and-a-half - I like to drop off sometimes and be part of the game. I'm still a bit of a behind-the-striker player when possible.

“When Theo, Gervinho or anybody goes through I need to be there normally at the first post and do my job as a main striker.”

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Robin Van Persie
Premier League

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