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With one foot already in the UEFA Champions League last 16 after a 4-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar, Arsenal FC striker Robin van Persie says the Premier League side fear no one in Europe this season.
Van Persie did not make it on to the scoresheet in their Matchday 4 success in north London, which left the Group H leaders needing only a point from their last two matches to be sure of reaching the knockout phase. Two goals from captain Cesc Fàbregas and one apiece from Samir Nasri and Abou Diaby propelled Arsenal four points clear at the top of the section. The Gunners' 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions has left the dressing room in buoyant mood and unworried about the matches to come against R. Standard de Liège and Olympiacos FC – let alone the knockout stages.
"We don't fear anyone," said the Dutchman, who has scored eight goals this season. "We are on a good run, we are enjoying ourselves and we just hope we can keep it going. But it's looking good, we're looking sharp. Everyone wants to play together, and that's the main thing. As long as we enjoy ourselves and work for each other, I do feel that we can keep going like this. Football is still a nice game to play and if you play together it can be fantastic."
Van Persie had a ready example of the value of teamwork in Wednesday's game. "If you look at the fourth goal, Eduardo back-heeled the ball to Andrei [Arshavin], he cut it back to Diaby, who took it from his left foot on to his right and passed it into the other side of the net. It was an amazing goal." Though delighted with the victory, Van Persie also spared a thought for his fellow countrymen at AZ, who are now last in the section on two points and facing a real battle for survival. "Most of them I know, some of them are good friends, colleagues from the national team," he said. "I feel that they had a so-so game – I don't think they really played well. But we played sharp, showed good commitment and scored our first two goals early."
Along with Arsenal's goalscorers, Van Persie was also well aware of the contribution from Arshavin, who unselfishly supplied the passes not only for Fàbregas's second goal but also those of Nasri and Diaby. "He was maybe struggling a little bit in the last couple of games but he came back fantastically today," he said of the Russian playmaker. "It shows he's a real team player as well – he's not too greedy to score. He's just playing his game and when you give three assists in one game that's quite special."
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