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
Robin van Persie to Lekhwiya: Manchester United striker linked with switch to join Michael Laudrup in Qatar
Sam Allardyce sacked -Newcastle survive - Hull relegated - LIVE: Premier League reaction to Walcott hat-trick, Liverpool defeat, Steven Gerrard goal
Jules Bianchi update: Ex-Marussia driver in a 'stagnant' condition as he continues to fight for his life after F1 crash
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal turns to Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi after Mats Hummels delay
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland