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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Van Persie surprised at form

Robin van Persie has revealed he has surprised himself with the form he is showing in front of goal for Arsenal.

• Preview: Arsenal v Fulham

Van Persie has flourished under the responsibility of being Arsenal's leading man, following the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and his sizzling run of form has resulted in him being mentioned in the same breath as Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Van Persie, who has hit 31 Premier League goals in the calendar year, says he is now playing like a natural striker.

"I feel I'm a real No. 9 now," he said. "I think like a striker. Sometimes I amaze even myself on that. It's really great how things are going but at the same time I have to try and look at it calmly."

Arsenal's brilliant run of form has helped them reach the knockout stages of the Champions League and Van Persie is aware that stunning individual form will count for nothing if they do not bag any silverware.

He said: "Everyone knows what the ultimate goal is. Only the prizes count. This run of goals has to lead to something otherwise it's only a nice series and I desire more than that."

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