Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has opened fire on Chelsea and Manchester City, accusing the Premier League's big spenders of having "big mouths".
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Van Persie further committed his future to Arsenal by talking up his club's philosophy but he simultaneously reduced his prospects of joining some of England's other powerhouse clubs by criticising their cultures, having also labelled Barcelona and Chelsea serial complainers since joining the Netherlands camp for international duty this week.
Written off by many at the start of the season, Arsenal trail only Manchester United as the Premier League title race enters its final stretch. The fact that Arsene Wenger's carefully constructed Arsenal are contesting for the championship ahead of free-spending Chelsea and Manchester City is proof enough for Van Persie that Emirates Stadium remains the place to be, and he fired a few barbs at the Premier League's rich kids to emphasise the point.
"I still strongly believe in my club's philosophy," Van Persie said. "A club like Manchester City change their philosophy every year and Chelsea spent about €80million this season ... two clubs who had a big mouth before the season, thinking that Arsenal wouldn't play a role in the title race but we are still ahead of them. And just by playing our own game, through our own philosophy."
The Premier League title remains Arsenal's only hope of silverware after they lost the Carling Cup final to Birmingham then crashed out of the FA Cup and the Champions League in quick succession. Even though he is satisfied Wenger's project is heading in the right direction, he admits the team's failures have been disappointing and urged his team-mates to find the extra fraction of improvement required.
"We always do our best at Arsenal and always want to win," he said. "On a number of occasions we have been very close but, at the last moment, it's often not good enough. That's the reality. It's very frustrating when you lose, especially as a team when we're so close. But we have to look forward and now it's up to us to change all that. I firmly believe in the team, Arsenal and myself and I'm positive we will win prizes."