Gunners show the way

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LONDON, November 6- There is no shortage of people willing to complicate football, but Arsenal are providing emphatic proof of the rewards that can be enjoyed when the game is kept refreshingly simple.ARSENE_WENGER_Arsene Wenger’s side have constructed a 12-game unbeaten run which has kept them in the slipstream of Chelsea and Manchester United at the top of the English Premier League and the brink of qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League, relying on nothing more than a frill-free, pass-and-move style which has left their opponents gasping for breath.

The pressures and pitfalls of elite-level sport have been forgotten, replaced by an old-fashioned desire to have fun.

"Most of it is about just that," admitted Robin van Persie, the Dutch striker, who now has Wolves in his sights on Saturday.

"Football is a nice game to play and if you play together it can be fantastic. Our game is all about one or two touches and playing with enjoyment. We have played together, with the right spirit, and it has been brilliant."

Van Persie has been the epitome of Arsenal’s breezy style in recent weeks, having plundered eight goals in his last 10 games, the most prolific spell of his career.

But, as their tally of 32 league goals in 10 league games suggests, the north Londoners are far from reliant on the 26-year-old: indeed, it is difficult to remember a time in Wenger’s 13-year spell at the club when he has boasted such a awe-inspiring array of attacking options.

The Frenchman has guile and skill in the scampering form of Andrey Arshavin, Samir Nasriand and Tomas Rosicky; blistering pace in Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela; the predatory instincts of Eduardo da Silva and the brute strength and aerial prowess of Nicklas Bendtner.

With Van Persie, who blends all these assets in one formidable package, serving as the team’s attacking talisman and Cesc Fabregas also in prolific form, it is no wonder Wenger believes he has never been better equipped to challenge for major honours.

Question marks still remain, of course.

Arsenal remain prone to the kind of lapses in concentration which would embarrass an amateur team and there are justifiable doubts over how they would cope with the prolonged absence of Alex Song, who has developed into an impressive holding midfielder.

The answer to that conundrum will be provided in January, when the Cameroon international travels to Angola for the African Cup of Nations.

In the meantime, however, Arsenal’s reputation as the most fluent and aesthetically pleasing side in England appears safe and they will be keen to underline the point at Molineux on Saturday.

Wolves are not the kind of side who will seek to bully Arsenal into submission and the Gunners will feel confident of extending their fine form and closing the gap on Chelsea and Manchester United, one or both of whom will drop points in their summit meeting on Sunday.

"We have to win this game," van Persie added. "With one game in hand, we are two points off Chelsea so we can close in. One of them will lose points on Sunday and if we want to challenge for the title this is the kind of game we have to win."

Wolves, for their part, can take solace from the fact that the pressure is off against such glitzy opponents.

The West Midlands club currently hover above the relegation places but their performances have deserved better than their rather measly points tally and their striker Michael Kightly believes being underdogs will aid their cause.

"I don’t think we need to fear anyone in this league," he said. "If everyone thinks we’re not going to get anything from the games, that will suit us.

"When we’re the underdogs, we’re a dangerous animal and we can cause teams problems so it suits us with the other team being the favourites. I think we can surprise a few people."

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