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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 15, 2006

Defensive Van Persie hoping for OT joy

Robin van Persie insists he is no diver - and believes Arsenal can head to Manchester United on Sunday confident of a first Premiership victory of the season following their successful midweek European trip.

The Gunners opened their Champions League Group G campaign with a 2-1 victory over Hamburg in Germany on Wednesday night.

With captain Thierry Henry missing because of a foot injury, Van Persie took on most of the attacking duties at the AOL Arena.

However, the young Dutch forward drew criticism when he tumbled in the penalty box following a challenge from Sascha Kirschstein after just nine minutes, which saw the Hamburg keeper sent off and the visitors take an early lead.

The Arsenal man, though, insisted it was a legitimate spot-kick.

He said: 'At first it was on my mind to shoot straight away. I just had a first touch and passed the keeper.

'There was a little bit of contact, but it was never my intention to dive.

'I am not like that and I think it is bad for the game.'

Van Persie feels the Arsenal players can take heart from the performance, which came in the wake of more stinging criticism from former Gunners left-back Ashley Cole in his book `My Defence'.

'We are doing everything we can to make our play effective,' the 23-year-old said.

'We are creating plenty of chances, so we are playing well - but we do not score.

'We are just not getting the luck on our side.'

Van Persie is struggling to be fit for Sunday after picking up a hip problem during Wednesday night's match.

However, the Dutchman has every faith the Arsenal team can put in a performance at Old Trafford.

He added: 'It will be a big game against Manchester United. I am very confident we will get a result because I trust our players.

'This is a good team with good players and they can cope with any situation.

'If it is Old Trafford, then fine; if it is Croatia, then fine. We just play football. That is why I have great belief for Sunday.'

Thierry Henry remains a doubt for this weekend after the Gunners captain missed the trip to Hamburg because of a foot problem.

Defender Kolo Toure is, though, expected to play despite hobbling off inside 30 minutes last night with a hip injury.

Van Persie, however, is a major concern.

Wenger revealed: 'Robin's [foot] got stuck in the pitch when he wanted to keep the ball in.

'We have to wait a little bit, but there is a doubt about both him and Thierry.'