Wenger puts Van Persie rest ahead of record quest
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, says he is quite prepared to deny Robin van Persie a shot at breaking the Premier League calendar year goals record for the sake of the team.
The Arsenal striker is two short of Alan Shearer's record of 36 goals scored in 1995, having equalled Thierry Henry's seven-year-old club record by scoring against Aston Villa on Wednesday. But Wenger – who is mulling over whether to offer Henry a loan deal back at the club – is concerned that the demand of three games within the next six days, starting with Wolves at the Emirates tomorrow, will be too much for Van Persie, who has been dogged by injury in previous seasons.
He said: "I don't want to stop him. I am very happy if he does it but if he can combine the record with staying fit, then that is better."
Wenger admitted the fact the record is within touching distance may be playing on his striker's mind, something he noticed with both Henry and Ian Wright when they had Shearer's target in their sights.
He said: "Wright was aiming for the record and he didn't score. After he said 'no I am not bothered' but you know with Ian Wright, the one thing he thought about day and night was scoring the next goal.
"It was a little while for Thierry as well. It's strange – you score goals when you don't think about it."
Wenger believes the key to Van Persie's success has been his fitness – the Dutchman has played 23 times in a rare injury-free run this season. He said: "The difference is just the injuries and it shows how important it is to have a consistent presence."
Latest in Sport
Petr Cech to Arsenal: How does the £11m deal compare with the Gunners' best ever Premier League signings?
Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray tests himself with practice games against Rafael Nadal
Paulinho leaves Tottenham: Former Spurs midfielder agrees £9.8m transfer to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande
Copa America 2015: When does it start, what channel is it on and who should I support?
Arsenal sign Petr Cech: Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey - and even Wojciech Szczesny welcome goalkeeper
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 E.L James's #AskELJames Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato