Van Persie vows to inspire Arsenal revival

LONDON, Aug 8, 2011 (AFP) - Robin van Persie has vowed to learn the lessons of Arsenal's meltdown last season as the Dutch forward aims to end his club's miserable run of six years without a trophy.

Blessed with exquisite technique and the kind of combative personality missing from many of his Arsenal team-mates, Van Persie has qualities that should have enabled him to amass a significant haul of medals by this stage of his career.

But it is Van Persie's misfortune to have burst onto the scene at Arsenal just as Wenger's greatest team was breaking up.

The slow demise of the group of 'invincibles' who won the Premier League in 2004 without losing a single match has left Van Persie as one of the last genuine world-class talents in Arsene Wenger's squad.

As a result he has only one winners medal -- from a substitute appearance in the 2005 FA Cup final against Manchester United -- to show for seven years in north London.

It is source of regret for Van Persie, who turned 28 earlier this month, but he knows individual excellence is no guarantee of success, especially when a team is rebuilding.

"Of course I want to win things but winning things doesn't come from out of the blue. I am just a part of the whole story, it depends on many things," he said.

Even so, after so many seasons of toil without reward, Arsenal's collapse last season was hard for Van Persie to stomach.

He was sidelined for two months after suffering an ankle injury while on international duty and initially struggled to find any rhythm on his return to the side in November.

His malaise didn't last. Van Persie had scored just once in the first half of the season, but from January onwards, he was virtually unplayable.

He set a new record when scoring in nine consecutive Premier League away games before finishing the season with 10 goals in 12 games to take his season's tally to 22.

Yet even Van Persie's scintilating form couldn't save the Gunners.

At one stage Arsenal harboured genuine hopes of challenging for a quadruple, but by May those dreams were buried amid the wreckage of the final three months of the season.

The catalyst for Arsenal's collapse came at Wembley when Birmingham recovered from Van Persie's equaliser to snatch a last minute winner in the League Cup final.

Just days later Van Persie was harshly sent off for kicking the ball away in a Champions League tie against Barcelona and Wenger's men suffered a defeat from which they never recovered.

The frustration is still palpable when Wenger talks about last season and Van Persie's absence in particular.

"Robin was fantastic," Wenger said. "But it adds a bit to the frustration because he made 18 Premier League starts, and so you could imagine that if he had played over 30 games, the number of goals he would have scored."

Despite the high levels of angst at Arsenal, Van Persie is certain he won't be affected by the hangover from such a traumatic campaign.

Cesc Fabregas's potential departure to Barcelona would deprive Van Persie of his main supply line, but he has formed a decent partnership with new signing Gervinho in pre-season and expects to pick up where he left off last term.

"I was 27 last year and everyone would think that you have an amazing start to the season and then maybe grow from there, but I had an injury and needed time to get back to fitness," Van Persie said.

"The second part of last year, I scored 18 Premier League goals so it is strange.

"You can't really tell beforehand whether you are going to have your best year because you don't really know what is going to happen.

"I do believe that this could be a really good year for me."

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