Van Persie double sparks praise


Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie was the subject of yet more praise from his colleague as his double against Borussia Dortmund took his tally for the season to 21 and helped the Gunners qualify for the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League.

The Dutchman netted his fifth brace of the season, with his tally for the year now standing at 44, the 28-year-old is considered by many to be in the form of his career.

And those sentiments are echoed by his fellow Arsenal compatriots, who believe he could be as good as Ballon d'Or holder Lionel Messi.

Mikel Arteta said: "We all know how good he is. Robin keeps performing and scoring goals, making the difference. At the moment he is level with any striker in the world, his numbers are unbelievable in the past eight or nine months.

"For me, it is just such a natural talent. Sometimes he looks as if he does not try, but beats players and scores an unbelievable goal.

"Robin is on fire, he is making the difference. Hopefully he can continue to do that and people can talk about him all the time, because that means we are winning."

While his form, mirrors that of the Argentine, according to his manager Arsene Wenger, the positions he takes up on the field are also similar that of the Barcelona wonder-kid.

"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."

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