Arsenal boss Wenger hails 'on-fire' Robin van Persie

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Wenger praises 'great win'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paid tribute to "exceptional" captain Robin van Persie after the Dutchman's hat-trick in the 5-3 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Van Persie took his tally to 28 goals in 27 Premier League games as Arsenal extended their recent sequence to eight wins in their last nine matches in all competitions.

Andre Santos and Theo Walcott were also on target as Arsenal recovered from falling behind twice to continue their revival following a turbulent start to the season.

Wenger said: "Robin is on fire at the moment and his class means he is taking advantage of being in a team that wants to attack a lot and create chances. The intelligence of his movement and the accuracy of his finishing is exceptional."

He added: "We needed a win here and we kept going to win the game. I felt that we had a good team performance and great spirit because when we went 2-1 down just on half-time it's very difficult.

"But we started the second half with a complete desire to keep going forward, and defensively we were much better in the second half than the first.

I hope the team can strengthen its belief with a performance like that and we can continue to focus and get stronger and stronger."

Wenger attributed Arsenal's improvement to the fact that new players brought in just before the transfer window closed in August were becoming more accustomed to his philosophy and style of play.

"We are much stronger as a unit," he said. "We got half the team in on 31 August and we had to play a qualifier for the Champions League. We had to reveal to the players the way we wanted to play and every win makes us stronger.

"The players are now getting used to the way we play and are getting stronger.

"But we have to remain humble, keep focusing and work hard together because we still have some ground to make up."

Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas denied that the Football Association investigation into allegations that John Terry racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in the Blues' previous league match at QPR had affected his captain's performance.

"Has the situation affected John? No, not at all," Villas-Boas said.

"It hasn't distracted him at all, I don't think.

"This is just defeat for a team, a very important defeat and nothing else."

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Chelsea must be cold-blooded - Villas-Boas

The former Porto boss insisted that he will not abandon his team's attacking style despite seeing defensive frailties exposed by Arsenal.

He said: "I will not change the philosophy because it is a personal value and a club value and you should never sell this cheaply.

"It is something that makes us proud and we will stick to this philosophy. It is our way of playing. We are proud of the way we play and we just have to correct some things."

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