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Manager Watch

Wenger: RVP exit has helped our game

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed there is more variety to his side's game since the departure of captain Robin van Persie.

•  Cesc backs Gunners

Van Persie hit 30 Premier League goals for the Gunners last season as he inspired the side to a third placed finish, following their disastrous start.

The Netherlands international was sold to rivals Manchester United over the summer, which left many believing Arsenal would struggle this campaign.

Yet despite losing the 29-year-old, Wenger believes the departure has enabled his side to mix up their style while also creating a strong team spirit.

"Sometimes an individual grows up and becomes the main charisma and carrier of the team and then people notice only him," said Wenger. "Robin van Persie scored 30 goals and when you score 30 goals everyone gives you the ball. That's as simple as that. Our game at the moment is a little bit more diversified.

"We have a spirit, a desire to play together and the strength of depth. The vibes coming out are that we look like a real team and we enjoy to play together. That's a good basis and is interesting."

Arsenal have got off to a positive start to the season, currently lying third in the table, having only conceded one goal and still remaining undefeated.

Their 6-1 trouncing of Southampton on Saturday, along with the way new signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski have bedded in, has left people claiming they could be title challengers this year.

Wenger believes his side can challenge but wants to see some consistency first before getting too carried away.

"I think we have a chance [to be title contenders]," he said. "We will know that after 10 games. We have the quality to do it but we have to show how much we want it.

"At the moment I don't know how strong our opponents are. We've not played against any of the title contenders yet. It will be important to see how we do against the bigger teams."


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