Daily Archives: April 13, 2012

Reaping the Rewards of Full Fitness: Theo van Persie

Theo van Persie

“Finally, I would like to praise Theo Walcott because I think his performance against Newcastle was his best for the Club so far. He has been in the spotlight so long that people forget that he is only 22 years old but he is getting to an age where he will perform consistently – it is as simple as that.” 

“He develops well because he is intelligent. On Monday night, tactically and technically, he had a complete game.”

These words were culled from Arsene Wenger in the wake of Arsenal’s dogged win over Newcastle right at the death. With the game tied at 1-1 with seconds to spare, Arsenal attempted one final surge at Newcastle’s goal. After some swift movement from the defense, Alex Song found Theo Walcott on the far side on the right hand side.

The winger swung in a peach of a cross that lost some momentum before falling kindly to Thomas Vermaelen in the six-yard box.

The rest they say, was history.

Five games have elapsed since that victory over this season’s surprise package and Walcott has smashed in three goals against Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Wolves taking his tally this season to 11. With five games to go, Walcott is two goals short of equalling his personal best record for Arsenal, the 13-goal campaign he enjoyed last season.

Despite the fact that Walcott has been on everybody’s good books recently, he has also been on the end of a heavy criticism from the same fans that are singing his songs at the moment.

In a match as crucial as the North London Derby when the stakes were higher than the altitude of an Air Force One, the fans booed Walcott in the first half for every misplaced pass, failed dribble and wayward shot. Arsene Wenger saved his bacon by offering the young lad another chance in the second half and he repaid his manager’s faith with two placed finishes that put Tottenham to the sword.

Wenger wasn’t lenient we was having a stinker against AC Milan in San Siro. The boss withdrew him at halftime to hand the great Thierry Henry a Champions League farewell.

You don’t need to read Theo Walcott’s autobiography to know how he has fared in recent times. After much media vulture hype, he was selected in the 23-man squad to represent England in the 2006 FIFA World Cup but he failed to make an appearance. He also inherited Thierry Henry’s jersey and locked horns with Andrey Arshavin for a starting berth on the flanks.

His biggest disappointment till date will have to be missing out of the tournament squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Fabio Capello preferred one-dimensional wingers like Aaron Lennon and Short Wright-Phillips  to Walcott, and they fared no better in England’s appalling campaign,

This season, Walcott’s contribution to the team has been a major success story and one can look no furtther than his key goals and the boatload of assists he has raked up for his telepathic partner, Robin van Persie.

Had Walcott failed to score those vital goals against Udinese Calcio, Arsenal might have been playing some Thursday night football, if you know what that means. He has had some notable finishes this season with his standout goal being that puzzling goal against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge last October.

Unless you’re leaving in a far away cave with no access to internet, Colored TV and some sports news, you should know that Robin van Persie is leading Arsenal’s scoring charts with 34 goals but his closest challenger is Walcott with…11 goals.

Theo Walcott feels that he’s feels completely fearless , now that his injury woes have been put behind him:

“I’m 23 now and I am still growing. I am not afraid of getting hurt. A few years ago, I had shoulder injuries, ankle problems and back problems and that was just me learning the other side of the game.”

“Now I am just getting into games and enjoying myself, not being scared of anything. The manager always tells me not to be afraid of going into tackles. We are playing great football and it’s nice to be part of that and not on the treatment table”

I’ll have to agree with Walcott on that front. many players produce their best football when they’ve attained optimal fitness. On the other hand, players with constant niggling injuries always tend to spend more time on the treatment table rather than on the pitch, to the detriment of their teams.

If you want to search for another living testimony of a player achieving his best form by being fully fit, you can look no further than Arsenal’s captain, Robin van Persie.

The Flying Dutchman was blighted by injuries in the start of his career at the club and there were even constant calls from the fans, telling the club to get rid of him courtesy of his countless minutes, hours, days and months on the treatment table.

Since his return to full fitness in the start of 2011, the heat van Persie emits can be compared to supernova. The lethal forward has amassed 45 goals in his last half century of Premier League games. His 27 league goals so far this season have come against 17 different sides – equalling the Premier League record.

The only two teams to prevent van Persie from scoring this season have been Manchester City and Fulham. However, he scored Fulham in the curtain closer of last season, thereby scoring 18 different Premier League teams in the past 12 months.

The only Gunner that has managed such a magnificent record of scoring 17 teams in a 38-game season is Ian Wright – not even the king, Thierry Henry. It;s really awkward to know that a player of Henry’s talent didn’t achieve this feat despite being Arsenal’s top scorer in basically every season he played for the Gunners.

Wright registered a goal against every team bar Manchester United and Sunderland during the 1996/97 campaign.

Van Persie has scored 34 goals in all competitions, and he’s in eighth place in the club’s all-time leading scorer charts with 129 goals to his name, 100 goals short of equalling Thierry Henry’s immortal record. Arsene Wenger has congratulated his star striker for this great achievement.

This clearly shows that Arsenal is currently reaping the rewards of full fitness to two of its key players, Theo van Persie.

In other Arsenal related news, the Isreali Rabbi, Yossi Benayoun is uncertain about his future while newbie, Thomas Eisfeld scored his first unofficial Arsenal goal in a Reserve match.

The quote of the day goes to the Arsenal Dude,

It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane…it’s the goalie version of Lionel Messi, Wojciech Szczesny.

Last season, Arsene Wenger had a potent attacking force called Theo van Nasregas. These players notched up a joint total of 59 goals in all competitions.

This campaign, Arsene Wenger was left with Theo van Persie and they have slammed in 45 goals for this club in all competitions.

If Arsenal doesn’t renew the contracts of Theo van Persie, I’ll shoot someone’s foot with a rifle.

Probably mine.

Sayonara.

****

Happy Birthday i.am.OGB utunu

****

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