Rangel ready to tangle with RVP

Rangel ready to tangle with RVP

Published Jan. 13, 2012 1:16 p.m. ET

Van Persie has been in stunning form over the last 12 months, scoring an astonishing 35 times during 2011, just one less than Alan Shearer's record for Barclays Premier League goals during a calendar year.

The Dutchman's deadly finishing has been a key factor in Arsenal's fine recovery from a slow start to the season - the Gunners have lost just twice in their last 13 league games and lie just a point outside the top four, as well as reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Rangel admits he is likely to vote for Van Persie when it comes to selecting the PFA Player of the Year, but knows that the danger posed by a team that includes the likes of Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and returning hero Thierry Henry cannot be ignored.

He said: "For me, Van Persie has been the best player in the Premier League this season. He has been on fire with his goals. It's like every time he touches the ball, he scores. We have to be 100% prepared for that.


"He has been fantastic and it will be between him and David Silva (for the PFA award).

"Goals win games and he has been scoring and playing well. He can hold the ball, has two good feet and runs the channels well. He is probably a complete player and he will probably get my vote.

"However, we will need to work hard together and not just concentrate on one player.

"If we concentrate on stopping someone like Van Persie, they will look to their other players and they can all change a game. All we can do is work hard as a team."

And while the Gunners have lost Gervinho to African Nations Cup duty with the Ivory Coast, they have regained the services of record goalscorer Henry on a short-term loan from the New York Red Bulls, and the lift to morale the 34-year-old's presence has brought was plain to see after he grabbed the winner in Monday's FA Cup win over Leeds.

Rangel said: "He (Henry) has got to be one of the best players Arsenal have ever had. He is a legend and has done well wherever he's gone - Arsenal, in America and at Barcelona.

"He is definitely still a threat and capable of turning a game, just as he did against Leeds. If he plays, as I think he will, we will have to be aware of that ability to change the course of a game.

"Wherever he plays he scores goals, he is great with his left and right and head and is quick. He has done well wherever he goes and will be one of their biggest threats."

Swansea, who have suffered just one defeat and conceded only four goals at home this term, also enter the game on a good run of form, having secured home draws against QPR and Tottenham and away wins at Aston Villa and Barnsley in their last four games.

And Rangel believes the performance in coming from a goal down to draw with high-flying Tottenham has instilled the confidence that Brendan Rodgers' side are ready to claim the scalp of one of the division's elite clubs.

"I think confidence is playing a big part in our form. You saw that against Tottenham in the last 20 minutes when we could have gone on to win the game," he said.

"It was also great for us to get that first away win against Villa, but now we have got that win, we want to go on and beat a big team.

"We came close against Arsenal away and Manchester United and Tottenham at home. Also, we were very good at Liverpool.

"It would give us massive confidence to beat a side like Arsenal because we have some big games coming up with Chelsea at home and Sunderland away.

"We know it's going to be difficult, but we have to think about ourselves. We are creating chances, which is better than it was at the start of the season, and our confidence is so much higher."