Van Persie is world class, says Walcott

 

Theo Walcott thinks Robin van Persie should be regarded as one of the best strikers in the world after his recent goalscoring exploits.

Van Persie took his calendar year goal tally to an amazing 31 league goals in 29 games this weekend with a brace that helped Arsenal see off Norwich at Carrow Road.

The win was the Gunners' fifth on the bounce and puts Arsene Wenger's side level with fourth-placed Chelsea - an achievement that seemed highly unlikely after the north London club's woeful start to the season.

Van Persie's ability to stay clear of injury has enabled the Dutchman to fire in 13 of the club's 25 league goals this season - a run which has put the striker at the top of the Barclays Premier League scoring charts.

Walcott, who has been deployed along with Van Persie and new boy Gervinho in a three-pronged attack this season, has enjoyed playing alongside the Holland striker and now believes there are few better marksmen on the planet than the 28-year-old Gunners captain.

"Robin is one of the best strikers in the world right now and a great leader too," Walcott told Arsenal's website.

"We just love playing together.

"Over the past few years I have had my injuries and he has had his so we have not been able to sustain a run of games together, but this year you can see signs that we just know where each other is going to be on the pitch.

"It makes it is easier for both of us."

With games against Fulham, Wigan and Everton coming up, Arsenal now have a good opportunity to keep up the pressure on their rivals before a trip to the Etihad Stadium to face leaders Manchester City on December 18.

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey hopes Van Persie can maintain his form and help push Arsenal back up the table.

"Robin is in unbelievable form at the moment. He is putting them all away," Ramsey said.

"Full credit to the team, we are supplying him and he is finishing them. We are delighted with the way we are playing and hopefully we can continue that.

"We are on a good run and we have to go into every game now believing we can win, progress and hope that other teams might drop some points.

"Hopefully then we can close the gap."

Earlier this season, manager Arsene Wenger faced the most fierce criticism of his 15-year reign at the club thanks to a dreadful start which saw them lose three of their opening five league games - one of which was an 8-2 mauling at Manchester United.

The Frenchman came under fire for losing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and also faced criticism for not replacing them with marquee signings.

Ramsey feels the critics were too quick to write off Arsenal's chances, however, and now believes new additions such as Gervinho, Andre Santos and Mikel Arteta have settled nicely in to the Gunners' style of play.

"We are getting a better understanding of each other in this team now and we are gelling together," the Wales captain said.

"There has been a lot of change here so it was natural to take time for people to bond and gel. In the last month we have definitely been doing that and hopefully now the team can continue its form."

PA

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