Arsenal 1 Everton 0: Wenger hails ‘exceptional’ Van Persie strike

Arsène Wenger full of praise for Robin van Persie after his brilliant volley secured victory for Arsenal over Everton

Premier League, 10 December 2011, Emirates Stadium
team1
Arsenal
1 - 0
team2
Everton

Arsène Wenger heaped yet more praise on Robin van Persie after the Dutchman’s sublime second-half volley downed Everton on Saturday.

Van Persie grabbed the winner in the 70th minute, expertly firing Alex Song’s chipped 20-yard pass past Tim Howard in the Everton goal with superb first-time volley to net his 17th goal of the season.

And Wenger admitted the Gunners’ prolific Dutchman had got the Londoners out of trouble on an afternoon in which the home side had failed to put away a host of good chances against David Moyes’ men.

“You [the media] will say we are Van Persie dependent,” Wenger said. “[But] today he got us a goal which was at the moment of the game where we struggled a little to create chances. He delivered something special and three important points.

“There is not much more to say [about him]. I feel Robin has scored an exceptional goal, he said himself he was not in his best of days, but what is important is that you are efficient. That is what it is to be professional, when you do not feel the greatest. I must give credit to Song as well, who gave a fantastic ball.

“It is a tradition in football that the goalscorers always get the plaudits, but I must say Robin deserves that because he has always been remarkably consistent.”

Arsenal have now taken 22 points from the last 24 available – and Wenger paid tribute to his side’s defensive stability after the Gunners continued their rise up the Premier League table.

“I am very pleased that the team has improved defensively,” he continued. “When you look at the goals we conceded at the start of the season, we look much more solid now. We didn’t give a chance away against Everton, basically, so on that front we are better.”

The win hoisted Arsenal back into the top four and one point clear of Chelsea, who host Manchester City on Monday night – but Wenger is refusing to read too much into his side’s current league position.

“It is a ‘virtual’ top four at the moment because if Chelsea win on Monday they will be in front of us,” he said. “What is important for us is that we started from so deep that nobody could have predicted that at the beginning of December we would be where we are now. We have to keep going because we are still far away.”

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