Friday 11 May 2012
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie could book his place in the history books against West Bromwich Albion if he continues his prolific form this weekend.
The 28-year-old has had a superb season in front of goal for the Gunners and his brace against Norwich City last weekend put him on 30 goals for the campaign.
"As the numbers tell you, only special players can achieve this"
- Arsene Wenger
One more goal in the final fixture of the season at the Hawthorns would see the Dutchman equal the Barclays Premier League's all-time goal record in a 38-match season.
Blackburn Rovers striker Alan Shearer scored 31 goals in the 1995/96 campaign while Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo matched that feat in 2007/08.
"Robin has done tremendously well," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the club's official website.
"Even on Sunday [against Norwich] he got us back to 2-2 and scored again to make it 3-2.
"Of course you don't know what more to say about Robin's season because, as the numbers tell you, only special players can achieve that.
"You want some more goals around Robin and for him to keep at these numbers. Of course you can beat the records."
Van Persie, who recently won both the Professional Footballers' Association's Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year, has now equalled Thierry Henry's record, set in Arsenal's Invincibles campaign, of 30 League goals in a 38-match campaign.
He is four goals ahead of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and is odds-on to claim the Premier League Golden Boot award for the first time.
If Van Persie was to score a hat-trick against the Baggies, he would equal Arsenal's post-war record for League goals in a season, set back in 1947/48 by Ronnie Rooke.
Van Persie is currently third in the European table of hot-shots behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, with Schalke's Klass-Jan Huntelaar in fourth and AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic fifth.
Sunday's match is crucial for the Gunners as they aim to book a third-place finish in the Barclays Premier League table and qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal are one point ahead of north-London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who host Fulham, and two clear of Newcastle United, who travel to Everton.