Football - Gunners 'doing well without RVP'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised the way his side have adapted to life without the goals of Robin van Persie.

PA Sport

The Manchester United forward can expect a hot reception on his return to Emirates Stadium this weekend, with passions still running high among some Arsenal supporters over the manner in which the Holland forward left last summer in a £24million move.

There have been suggestions those disgruntled fans will turn their backs in protest when the teams come out from the tunnel for a guard of honour to mark United's Premier League achievements.

Wenger, though, has called for the club's former talisman to be shown respect - however painful that may be after watching his 24 league goals fire the Red Devils to a 20th championship title with a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Monday night.

Despite the considerable loss of Van Persie - who plundered some 37 in all competitions to help drag Arsenal into third place on the final day of last season - Wenger's side have remained a potent attacking threat.

Theo Walcott is top scorer with 18, while summer signings Olivier Giroud, who starts a three-match ban this weekend, has netted 17 times, with Lukas Podolski (14) and Santi Cazorla (12) both also into double figures.

"What you want to focus on is that when the big players go, you just want to get around it and try to find a new organisation that is efficient," said Wenger.

"You always miss a big player, but the only thing I can say [is] it took us a while to get around it. However, if you look at the number of goals we've scored, it's similar to last season.

"It took us a while to find a different way because the game went through him a lot. We had to find a new balance between defending and attacking but now we are stabilised."

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