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Feb 16, 2013

Robben: Arsenal must hold onto stars

Bayern Munich midfielder Arjen Robben believes Arsenal's trophy drought will continue if they fail to retain their stars, insisting the departure of Robin van Persie has left the Gunners scrambling to rebuild.

• Wenger: We must silence critics

Robben, 29, scored a late goal in Bayern's 2-0 Bundesliga win over Wolfsburg on Friday and has turned his attention to Tuesday's Champions League clash at the Emirates.

Although he expects a stern test from Arsenal, Robben admits this season has been difficult for Arsene Wenger's side and their pursuit of silverware shows no signs of ending.

"I think you can see it. It's not my opinion, it's also a fact," Robben told the Sun. "The last eight years - no trophies. That says it all. If you look around at the moment there are some teams in England that are maybe stronger than Arsenal. I cannot speak for Robin. He made his decision.

"Again, I live in Germany, I don't live in England, so it's very difficult for me to really judge this situation at the club. But if you see there are always players leaving and when they leave, at that moment, they are the most important players or the best players and, if you keep losing these players, then every time you have to try to build up again.

"Mr Wenger has shown that he can do it. He's a great manager, he's shown that by improving young players, but the trophies are also important. You already said it. There's a difference. I can understand it - the disappointment. Eight years without a trophy is a very, very long time."

Robben opened up on national team-mate van Persie, revealing the striker left Arsenal in search of trophies and should not be condemned for his decision.

"Yes, Robin was the captain. But that's also how it goes in football. Players are leaving," he said. "In the end, of course, for the real Arsenal supporters it was a shame, it was very disappointing that he left the club.

"But on the other hand, if they think clearly, everybody understands his choice that he also wants to win titles and at Arsenal at the moment it's going to be very difficult. I know they lost their best player in Van Persie and they got some new players in, but they're still a very dangerous team."

Bayern are firm favourites to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals, but Robben denies his side will be outdone by a more desperate Gunners outfit.

"People will say that we're favourites but we can expect two very tough games. They have a young team with a great manager, who always improves his teams and can develop young players.

"We won't underestimate them. Maybe they're struggling a bit but Champions League nights are always special and anything can happen."

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