We can still catch Manchester United, says Arsenal star
Blackpool win can revitalise Gunners’ title challenge says Van Persie
ROBIN van Persie says Arsenal will not give up the fight for the Premier League title – and believes they will rediscover their winning form at Blackpool on Sunday.
The Gunners have fallen seven points behind leaders Manchester United after being frustrated by Blackburn last weekend and drawing for the third successive game.
However, Van Persie says the Arsenal players have not given up hope of winning a first trophy for six years despite a run of form that has seen them win just once in their last seven games.
“Definitely we still believe,” the Dutchman said. “We still believe we are really good footballers, we have eight games to play and it is up to us. On Sunday we have Blackpool away and this is a chance for us to get three points. We cannot give up, we have to go on.
“We had the chances on Saturday but we were a bit unlucky. It was one of those days when no matter what we did it wouldn’t go in.
“It is unlike us [not to score goals]. There is no one to blame, everybody had a good spirit and we created chances, but we just didn’t take them. I feel we deserved three points, but we have to move on.
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“Of course everyone is down because we should have won but everyone stays positive, everyone speaks to each other and says come on, we have eight games to play and try to win and we will do that.”
While Arsene Wenger has questioned the scheduling of the remaining games that sees Arsenal play on seven consecutive Sundays and mostly after United, Van Persie denied that their rivals’ results can have an effect on the players who watched Sir Alex Ferguson’s side win impressively at West Ham on Saturday lunchtime.
This weekend United host Fulham 24 hours before the Gunners run out at Bloomfield Road, and could open up a 10-point lead at the top before Arsenal face Blackpool.
“I did watch United on Saturday and it was not nice to see them 2-0 down and then winning 4-2, I would rather see them losing,” added Van Persie. “But it didn’t influence me personally [playing after them] and we still have to play them at home in three weeks’ time.
“We have a chance for three points there. It’s up to us.”
Wenger will have captain Cesc Fabregas available to start at Blackpool for only the second time in eight games, and Van Persie admitted that the loss of the Spaniard for recent games has been keenly felt.
“We have been unlucky with injuries in certain games when Cesc has not been involved,” said the Dutchman, after Fabregas was only fit to come off the bench for the final half-hour against Blackburn.
“He is our engine, he is the one with the brains, who passes the ball in behind. He makes the game for us and when he is not there we all feel that.
“A few of these injuries have happened to us over the past few years at this time and it is hard to cope with. You need your best players.
“But we will work hard again now and everybody will be positive for the Blackpool game. We still believe, we cannot do otherwise.”