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Oct 20, 2009

Wenger: Robin is Arsenal's answer to Van Basten

Arsene Wenger has given Robin van Persie the highest of accolades by comparing Arsenal's influential striker to none other than fellow Dutchman and all-time great Marco van Basten.

Flourishing at the forefront of Arsenal's new 4-3-3 formation this season, Van Persie has scored in his past four games in all competitions and is securing his reputation as one of the Premier League's most feared forwards.

Wenger even sees echoes of the great Van Basten, who represented Ajax and AC Milan with distinction in the 1980s and early 1990s and won the coveted Ballon d'Or trophy on three separate occasions.

Arsenal have scored freely this season, netting a record 27 goals in their opening eight games, and Wenger believes that his £2.75 million signing from Feyenoord in May 2004 has played a crucial role in the club's reinvention as an attacking force.

"I love him there because he has a brain, he can play others in and he can score. I think he's a Marco van Basten type," Wenger said. "He's a technical centre-forward. He's much stronger physically now. He has that classy first touch, sharp movement and a short backlift.

"I always thought he was more a first striker than second striker. His movement is intelligent around the box and if we score a lot of goals a big part is down to him."

Van Persie may operate at the apex of Arsenal's formation but he has been ably assisted by the likes of Andrei Arshavin, Cesc Fabregas and even Thomas Vermaelen this season as the Gunners have contributed goals from all areas of the pitch.

And even having assembled memorable sides including players as talented as Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, Wenger feels his current crop are perhaps his most dangerous yet.

"When you have a team like I have now, it is absolutely exciting because you know that there is potential in this team and it's down to me to get it out," Wenger said. "In terms of goal-scoring potential certainly [it is the most exciting team I've had]. We've shown that up to now and there are still some offensive players who have not contributed."

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