“What happened today will not change my mind”
The Dutchman is a sublime finisher in front of goal with either foot, but dispatching spot-kicks is more a question of calmness and focus than just goalscoring ability.
And as Van Persie proved on Saturday, his adrenaline rush can get the better of him sometimes as he blasted the ball against Wigan’s Al Habsi. The 27-year-old did go on to prove his miss was indecisive when he completed his match winning hat-trick before being substituted.
Fabregas – who has had his spot-kick misses in the past against Stoke City last season and Man. City earlier this campaign – was the first-choice taker in Van Persie’s absence while the likes of Tomas Rosicky (against Sunderland) and Andrey Arshavin (against Partizan) have also had their bloopers from the spot in vital moments this season.
Indeed, only Samir Nasri has a perfect PK record – which includes two strikes in tense moments at Tottenham during the 4-1 Carling Cup win in September.
And following Van Persie’s show of impatience from 12 yards out on Saturday, the debate over Arsenal’s coolest head from the spot will go on as there may come a time when such an opportunity will decide games, but Wenger insists Van Persie’s miss will not see any teammate take over his role.
“[Van Persie has] always [been the No 1 penalty taker]. What happened today will not change my mind. I find it’s difficult to approve when the ball goes into the stand on the penalty, no matter how tolerant you are! I would have loved the ball to go in the net.” Wenger said.