It's great to be back, says Van Persie

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Robin van Persie admits that defeat to Tottenham on Wednesday has all but ended Arsenal's title hopes but described his relief at returning from a five-month injury lay-off.

The Dutch striker also believes the fact that Arsenal have remained in contention until this stage of the season underlines the improvement they have made over the last year. "If you look at last year," he said, "no one really expected this. But when you are this close you really want to win it. When you don't, it's frustrating. It felt good and I am happy to be back. But when you are there and your team is behind you want to do something to help."

Wenger introduced the striker in the 68th minute and he made an immediate impact, drawing several superb saves from Heurelho Gomes in the Spurs goal. "Especially the first one," Van Persie said. "I expected that to go in but somehow he saved it which is crazy. The free-kick was going into the top corner and he saved that as well. Those were big moments."

Meanwhile, Barcelona's sporting director Txiki Begiristain has denied the reigning European champions have told Arsenal they will not be making a summer move for Cesc Fabregas. "We've never said that we are not going to try. We'll see what happens."