Wenger: Van will motor on
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Robin van Persie to continue his goalscoring heroics in 2012.
The Gunners skipper netted the only goal in a tough London derby with QPR to ensure the north Londoners ended the year with three points. The goal was Van Persie's 35th Barclays Premier League goal of 2011, leaving him just one shy of Alan Shearer's record haul for Blackburn in 1995.
While admitting the Holland international will be disappointed with his failure to break the record, Wenger predicts a similarly-impressive run in 2012. Wenger said: "He can [kick on next year] because he is the right age to perform."
He added: "Touch wood that he can repeat the same number of games and, if he does, then nothing is impossible. I don't know why tonight at midnight it should suddenly change."
Van Persie's goal propelled Arsenal to fourth in the Premier League, usurping Chelsea and Liverpool in the standings. Wenger continued: "Many people dropped points. For us it was a little bit of repetition of the Wolves game because we did not manage to score more than one goal.
"Then, of course, it is down to not making a mistake at the back and we had to be patient to take out chances. I feel when there are so many game, you cannot alter the pace of the game. You have to take your time, be patient and focus on not making mistakes.
"We did that quite well and Robin van Persie again scored us the goal that got us the points against a good QPR side. They had a good midfield, they played well. They always looked capable of creating something. Overall they were one of the [better] teams we have seen."
While victory leaves Arsenal in a Champions League spot, QPR start 2012 two points off the drop zone in 17th spot. Manager Neil Warnock admitted he may be able to bring a new signing in before Monday's match with Norwich and was quick to praise his side's performance at the Emirates Stadium.
"I am obviously pleased with how we played," he said. "We came with four forwards and tried to have a go at them really. I thought we were well organised and wanted to create chances. We didn't just want to come and shut up shop and hope for a 0-0 draw, believe it or not. We wanted to win the game.
"I thought we had some good chances throughout. You can accept if you lose to a cracking goal but it is a terrible goal from our point of view. Poor old Shaun Wright-Phillips is distraught [after giving away the ball that led to the goal] and yet he has had a fabulous game.