Bad luck cost Arsenal the title insists Van Persie
Published 23:01 18/05/11 By Martin Lipton
Robin van Persie believes Arsenal’s Total Football was only denied the title by bad luck.
Arsene Wenger’s side now seem likely to finish fourth and face a Champions League play-off in August after winning just twice in the league since their Carling Cup Final debacle in late February.
But Gunners striker Van Persie, who has scored 18 goals since the turn of the year, says they were robbed of the success he feels they deserved only by fate.
“We came close to winning the title - very, very close," said the Dutchman. “If you look at our games against [the other] big teams, I think we are first in that league. We gained so many points against them.
“We need to be more consistent, because we have everything in our team.
"We players have the same frustrations as the fans. I don’t like to lose, especially in games when we had chances, but we’ve been unlucky as well.
“It’s not something I’m hiding from at all - I’m the first one to say 'It’s not good enough' when it’s not good enough - but when you look at that game against Villa, basically, the way everything went, we should have won that.
"Marouane Chamakh’s goal should have stood, there was a 100 per cent penalty for Aaron Ramsey, another one where Richard Dunne basically kicked me and the referee whistled.
“So we don’t have the luck on our side. I know that luck is something which you have to earn in a way and luck will turn but, the last couple of weeks, it didn’t really turn our way.”
Van Persie, talking at the London launch of the adi-power Predator boot, may have had legitimate gripes about the defeat by Villa on Sunday.
But the circumstances of the loss did not prevent Arsenal’s post-match “lap of appreciation” being conducted against a background of some booing, nor hide the reality that Wenger’s men have dropped 19 points out of 30 to destroy their title hopes and instead leave them on the brink of fourth place.
Van Persie accepted the supporters had the right to vent their feelings, but at the same time insisted that Wenger’s men are the new incarnation of the great Dutch side under Rinus Michels that should have won the 1974 World Cup.
“In a way, I understand the booing because I feel connected with the fans,” he added. “We have a really good relationship and I do understand them and their frustrations sometimes.
“What else can I say about it? I know that we are giving everything, I am working with the players and I know this.
“I also feel it’s true to say we are a modern take on Total Football. If you look at certain teams in Europe, I think Roma is playing similar, with Francesco Totti in the role I’ve had.
“I don’t feel lonely up front, honestly because I have Cesc [Fabregas] around me, I have [Jack] Wilshere around me, I have Samir Nasri around me, [Andrey] Arshavin, [Theo] Walcott. If you look at those guys around me, it is just one bunch of quality.
“Barca play that way with [Lionel] Messi. There is us, and with Holland during the World Cup, when I was playing in a similar role and Ajax too.”