Richards – Key will be stopping van Persie

Manchester City defender Micah Richards believes they can stop the goals of in-form Arsenal striker Robin van Persie when the two sides meet, The Mirror reports.

Van Persie has been on fire so far this calendar year and has scored 33 goals in 2011. The Gunners travel to Eastlands with seven wins in eight games giving them a huge confidence boost, but City are reeling. Roberto Mancini felt injusticed against Chelsea in their defeat on Monday night and is looking for an immediate reaction from his players. Arsenal sit nine points behind City in the league table and a win at the Etihad Stadium for the Gunners sees them propelled back into the thick of the title race.

Richards has called Arsenal ‘genuine title contenders’ ahead of the game and believes they have to keep everyone fit to succeed. That one main cog in the Gunners machine is Van Persie and Richards, returning from injury, hopes the City backline can stop the scintillating Dutchman.

The England international said: ‘Van Persie is an amazing talent. When he signed for Arsenal, you could tell he was going to be a massive player for them and he’s continued improving. But Vincent Kompany has been outstanding and Joleon Lescott has probably been our best defender. I’m sure these two, between them, will be able to sort him out – hopefully’.

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