Robin van Persie hopes that he can build on the stellar performances he produced in the second half of last season, but has philosophically reflected that he will need to avoid injury if he is to play his part in ending Arsenal’s trophy drought.
The Dutch international was sidelined with an ankle problem between August and December but returned in the New Year to scored 18 goals before the end of the campaign. His performances were all the more impressive given Arsenal’s stuttering form at the tail end of the season with the 27-year-old setting a new record for consecutive strikes away from home.
Reflecting on a rollercoaster last twelve months as he prepares for the start of the new season, the hitman told the Arsenal website:
“I was 27 last year and everyone would think that you have an amazing start to the season and then maybe grow from there. But I had an injury and needed time to get back to fitness.
“The second part of last year, I scored 18 Premier League goals so it’s strange. You can’t really tell beforehand whether you are going to have your best year because you don’t really know what is going to happen. If it goes your way, I do believe that this could be a really good year for me.
Having seen the early years of his career ravaged by persistent injuries, Van Persie also stressed that he would like to continue playing well into his thirties as he looks to add silverware to his potential.
“The way I see it is that I am halfway through my career now. I have been playing for ten years and I’d like to play for at least ten more years. Of course I want to win things but winning things doesn’t come from out of the blue. I’m just a part of the whole story, it depends on many things.”
Having surrendered a 4-0 lead against Newcastle United last campaign the Gunners travel to St James Park on the first day of the season with the harrowing result still fresh in the memory. Eager to make amends for the collapse, Van Persie made clear that the road to redemption begins in the North-East:
“It’s very important [to make up for that] because if you throw away a 4-0 lead, it’s mad.
“I don’t think it ever happened in the Premier League and I’m not sure it will happen again. We need to set something right there and show that it was a mistake and it’s not something that will happen more often.
“Going away to Newcastle is very tough, they have great fans who are very noisy and it’s going to be very tough. If I could choose, I would always go for a home game in the first game. In the first couple of games, it’s more about getting your real fitness from the games and growing into that.”