RVP takes 10th in all-time Arsenal scoring chart


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had nothing but praise for hat-trick hero Robin van Persie after the deadly Dutchman knocked compatriot Dennis Bergkamp out of the club's top 10 all-time goalscorer's list.

His well-taken treble in the 7-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday took Van Persie's tally to 123 goals in 264 appearances for the Gunners.

Bergkamp's record was 120 goals in 424 games - proof that the club captain is on another level as he enters the prime of his career.

The 28-year-old enjoyed a successful World Cup in 2010, and went from strength to strength in 2011 - matching the Premier League record for goals scored between January 1 and the end of the 2010-11 campaign - finding the net 18 times in 19 appearances following his return from injury.

Van Persie also set a new record for goals scored in consecutive away league matches (9) - a period that ran from New Year's Day to the final game of the season, May 22, 2011.

The Arsenal captain's quality has never been in doubt, but a succession of injuries has hampered his contribution over the past few years. However, Van Persie's experience, passion and hunger for success is the driving force behind him, and having enjoyed an extended run of fitness, everybody is benefiting from his impact, not least his manager.

"Robin is an exceptional football player and his movement in the box should be shown at any football school," Wenger enthused after Saturday's victory. "He takes advantage when you feed him in the box. He is deadly.

"I felt recently we had good performances but didn't always get the result, and this time we got the performance and the result. I don't give too much importance to the seven goals, just that we won and played well."

Described as an expert goal-taker, and an equally adept goal-maker with a penchant for free-kicks, it is perhaps unsurprising that Van Persie has drawn comparisons with another of Arsenal's famous Dutchmen.

Bergkamp is a player that the skipper openly admits has given him an incentive to push on in north London, citing his fellow countryman as an inspiration behind his tremendous form. No surprise then that Van Persie took Bergkamp's former No.10 shirt when it became available last season.

He started the New Year as he finished the last with another superb month of goalscoring, netting four times in four matches in January. His two goals in the FA Cup fourth round clash against Aston Villa brought him level with Bergkamp's tally.

"He is a world-class player," proclaimed Wenger last month. "You have national class, international class and world class, and Robin is world class."

With 22 league goals in 24 appearances this season, Van Persie has already eclipsed last year's Premier League Golden Boot total of 20 - which was shared by Manchester City's Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United - as well as his own season's best of 18 goals.

Since its inception in 1992-93, the highest goalscoring totals for a season in the Premier League have been 34 - set first by former Newcastle striker Andy Cole in 1993-94 - only for Alan Shearer to match that feat a year later in his most prolific season for Blackburn Rovers.

The 30-goal mark has only been reached by three players since. First, by Kevin Phillips with Sunderland in 1999-2000 - a season that also won him the European Golden Boot that year - Arsenal's Thierry Henry in 2003-04 and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo netted 31 times during the 2007-08 campaign.

Van Persie is also in the running for another record, which could see him score the highest percentage of his team's goals for a Premier League season. Having scored 22 of Arsenal's 46 league goals so far this season, he's scored 47.8 per cent of the club's league total. Phillips, whose 30-goal return represented 52.6 per cent of Sunderland’s 57 total league goals that year, holds the current record.

In terms of Arsenal's all-time list of leading scorers, Henry is way out in front with 228 goals, while Ian Wright (185) and Cliff Bastin (178) make up the rest of the top three.

On current form, it won't be long before Van Persie passes David Jack (124) and eighth placed Joe Hulme (125) in the exclusive members club, as he looks to move on further up the list and cement his place in Arsenal folklore.

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