Van Persie relived to have goalscoring hero Vermaelen on his side

ARSENAL forward Robin van Persie is relieved Thomas Vermaelen is on his side now after getting rough treatment and falling out with the Belgian centre-back two years ago.

Vermaelen angered Van Persie with his no-nonsense defending during the pre-season Ajax Tournament when he was with the Dutch giants, but they are now on the same side following Vermaelen’s £10 million (€11m) move in the summer.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has got full value, as his 23-year-old recruit has adapted instantly to the Barclays Premier League and has shown a goalscoring knack. His double in the 4-0 demolition of Wigan on Saturday took his tally to four this season.

Van Persie, recalling his spat with the defender, said: “He is hard and played very strong on me physically and I was a little bit upset about that. So I told him in nice words!

“Now I’m happy he is on my side. In training everyone mixes up so I play against him. He is tough and it’s good because I am training against proper defenders.”

Vermaelen’s first goal against Wigan was a header from Van Persie’s corner, while his second was a curling effort into the top corner.

“The first one showed he is very, very strong from corners and free-kicks and that is very important for us,” Van Persie said. “Even if we play badly we can always score from set-pieces. I would have been proud of his second goal.’’

Emmanuel Eboue, however, celebrated in front of the Wigan fans when Eduardo grabbed the third goal.

The FA may look at the incident if referee Mike Jones includes it in his report – but it was hardly the same as Adebayor’s celebrations, especially as only a tiny group of Wigan fans made the trip south.

Cesc Fabregas added the fourth goal at the death to get Arsenal back to winning ways in the league.

“If you look last year, the way Manchester United became champions was against the ‘smaller’ teams,” Van Persie said. “They won against all the teams from 19 to 10.

“So it is very important to win these games. Maybe even more in the end than the big games.”

Van Persie was disappointed with missing a series of chances but believes Arsenal are spreading the goalscoring responsibilities now Adebayor has left.

“The way we are doing it now is that everyone is sharing the goals,” he said. “I’m quite happy with that but I should score more personally.

“But as long as we share the goals and everyone is passing it at the right moment, I am happy.

“If this one person scores 40 or 50 goals I would rely on him. But that happens once every 10 years. I’m quite happy to share the goals.”

ARSENAL: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Eboue (Rosicky 73), Song Billong, Fabregas, Diaby (Ramsey 66), Eduardo (Bendtner 73), van Persie.

WIGAN: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Thomas, Diame, N’Zogbia, Gomez (Scotland 57), Koumas (Scharner 57), Rodallega (Sinclair 87).

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).


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