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5 talking points from the NPFL weekend


Arteta: Van Persie is irreplaceable

Mikel Arteta has said Robin van Persie is impossible for Arsenal to replace and claimed it is unfair of people to expect Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to fill the gap left by his departure to Manchester United.

Arsenal have failed to score in their opening two Premier League matches, being held to goalless draws by both West Brom and Stoke, and Arteta said: "You can't replace Robin. To do so is impossible because he's such a special player.

"Manchester United went for him at the age of 29 - what does that say? It says there aren't many bigger talents in the world. It doesn't matter who is brought in for Robin - you can't ask anyone to be as good as him."

Arteta believes Podolski and Giroud need to be given time to gel, and has seen signs that the partnership can be a prolific one.

"We just need to give them time," he said. "It's been two games. Olivier has started one game. It's not fair on him. It could all change for him, just like that.

"Last week, Olivier had a massive chance to win the game and he would have been the hero. Against Stoke, Lukas had a chance. He looked good on the left on Sunday, cutting in and causing problems. He had a couple of chances."

Arteta, who joined the Gunners on transfer deadline day last season, was given the unenviable task of replacing skipper Cesc Fabregas after his fellow Spaniard had joined Barcelona.


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