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Szczesny hails Van Persie

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny believes prolific captain Robin van Persie is currently the best striker in the world.

• Arshavin: I've been "average"
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Van Persie has scored ten goals in nine Premier League starts this season, including a hat-trick in the 5-3 win at Chelsea, to help Arsenal reverse their dismal start.

The Gunners' reliance on their captain, who is out of contract in summer 2013, has led to accusations they are a one-man team. However, despite Van Persie's goalscoring heroics this season, he was surprisingly not named on the FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist, which purports to list the top 23 players in the world.

When he learnt the news of Van Persie's omission, Szczesny was stunned.

"I think it's ridiculous [he's not on the Ballon d'Or shortlist] - he's probably got the best goalscoring record at the moment," Szczesny told Sky Sports News.

"We know how good he is - even at Chelsea when they equalised late on, we still felt like we were going to go on and win. He just came up with two goals right at the end, and I believe he is at the moment the best striker in the world."

Meanwhile, Arsenal's vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen insists the club will still compete for a top-four place even if Van Persie, who is notoriously injury-prone, is forced to miss a few games.

"Robin is a world-class player, an amazing striker," Vermaelen said. "But I think we have a big squad and he can't play every game. We have enough strikers to fit in in his place who can decide a game, like Gervinho."

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