Van Persie: Title hopes over

The Gunners went down 2-1 at White Hart Lane despite Nicklas

Bendtner pulling a late goal back after Danny Rose and Gareth Bale

had given Spurs a two-goal lead. Arsenal peppered the Tottenham

goal but found goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes in inspired form and they

now find themselves six points behind leaders Chelsea in the

Barclays Premier League with four games to play. Manager Arsene

Wenger admitted after the game the north London side’s title

aspirations were badly hit by the loss, something echoed by Van

Persie. He told “I don’t think Chelsea will drop

more than six points now.” The defeat was compounded by Thomas

Vermaelen sustaining a calf strain which will keep the defender out

for two to three weeks. Van Persie, though, believes the fact

Arsenal have remained in contention until this stage of the season

underlines the improvement they have made in the last 12 months.

“Definitely, if you look at last year,” he added. “No-one really

expected this. But when you are this close you really want to win

it. When you don’t do that it is frustrating. “It felt good and I

am happy to be back. But when you are there and your team is behind

you want to do something to help them. “Unfortunately I could not

do that last night.” Wenger introduced the Holland striker in the

68th minute and he made an immediate impact, inspiring his side

forward but ultimately he was frustrated by Gomes. The 26-year-old

was thwarted by the Spurs keeper on more than one occasion when he

chested down Abou Diaby’s chip and volleyed goalwards before

producing a perfectly-placed free-kick that was destined for the

top corner. However, both efforts saw Gomes produce stunning saves

while also denying Sol Campbell’s goalbound header as time ran

down. Van Persie believes Gomes’ obstinacy stood between the

Gunners claiming something from the game and thus keeping their

title aspirations alive. “Yes, especially the first one. “I

expected that to go in but somehow he saved it which is crazy. The

free-kick was going straight into the top corner and he saved that

as well. Those were big moments. “It is a thin line between winning

and losing. We had some good chances, they had some too. I felt we

deserved maybe a draw from tonight. “If you look at the second half

we had a number of good chances and their keeper made a couple of

unbelievable saves.”