Daily Archives: February 25, 2012
Arsenal’s quest for silverware was found wanting for the sixth year in a row but the start of the 2011/12 season brought fresh optimism among the manager, the players and most importantly, the fans. Last season, the club was very close to winning the Carling Cup and locked horns with Manchester United for title honors before being swept away in the business end of the league.
The summer saw the loyal stalwart Gael Clichy move to the moneybags of Manchester City and the long saga involving Cesc Fabregas and FC Barcelona finally ended with Arsenal’s El Capitan moving back to a place he once called home. Samir Nasri was touted as the ideal replacement for the departed captain but Manchester City came sniffing around again and the lure for the greens was enough for the French maestro to wave his goodbyes.
The exit of Fabregas and Nasri made Arsenal seem like a confused flock of sheep so Arsene Wenger assigned a new shepherd in the form of Robin van Persie. The Flying Dutchman joined the club in 2004 but his career has been blighted by countless injuries.
Van Persie was certainly not in the commanding mold of Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira but his exploits on the pitch has been nothing short of sensational. He opened his goal scoring account this season with an easy tap in against Udinese and this was followed by a consolation goal in the 8-2 mauling in the hands of Manchester United.
September saw the Dutchman smash in Arsenal’s only goal against Borussia Dortmund in Germany and a brace against Bolton followed. He scored a landmark goal in that game that made him join the League of Extraordinary Centurions that has the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Cliff Bastin, Ian Wright and King Thierry Henry.
Van Persie spared Arsenal’s blushes with a brace against Sunderland and he came off the bench to score another brace against Stoke City. This was followed up with a scintillating hat-trick against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge and it was fair to say that van Persie was on supernova at that point in time.
He picked up where he left off in November with a stellar performance against West Brom that saw him score a goal and hand two assists to his team mates and he crowned the month with back to back braces against Norwich and Dortmund. He joined the party against Wigan, scored a goal of the season contender against Everton, smashed in a penalty against Aston Villa and ended the year on a high with a calm effort against Queens Park Rangers.
In a somewhat dark year for Arsenal, Van Persie shone through with his goal scoring outlay of 2011 that saw him smash Thierry Henry’s Arsenal Premier League goal scoring record to bits and was a goal shy of the great Alan Shearer’s record. He kicked off his 2012 with a goal against Swansea City before offering Arsenal a glimmer of hope against Manchester United. He scored a brace from 12 yards against Aston Villa and smashed in his second hat-trick of the season in the 7-1 demolition of Blackburn.
Despite these outstanding goal scoring contributions that has seen Robin van Persie smash in 28 goals, Arsenal is effectively out of every competition football has to offer this season…expect the club wants to put up a 5-star performance against AC Milan at the Emirates that would see them score five goals to qualify to the quarter finals of the Champions League.
Van Persie stalled his contract talks till the end of the season and skeptics feel that he may face the same fate with Samir Nasri but the club’s hierarchy has announced that he’s going nowhere. This is the same club whose manager reiterated that ‘big clubs don’t sell their big players‘ but he went on t0 sell Fabregas and Nasri to some predators.
Robin van Persie’s importance to Arsenal is unquestionable and here are five reasons why Arsenal has to stick with the Flying Dutchman:
He is Arsenal’s Talisman
Down the years, many football clubs have done transfer business with their peers but questions are always raised when the club’s go as far as selling its best player. Patrick Vieira left Arsenal for Juventus in 2006 but there were many ‘leaders’ in the team despite the fact that he was the captain.
When Fabregas followed suit this season, Van Persie assumed the role of the captaincy and he presently epitomizes everything Arsenal stands for this season. Selling off van Persie would signal a downward spiral that can be reminiscent of the club’s performances after the Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham City.
His Vital Experience
Robin van Persie joined Arsenal in the summer of 2004 and he has fused himself into the nucleus of the team. In his eight seasons at Arsenal, he has played 181 League games, 31 Cup games and 54 games in Europe summing up to 266 appearances and he already has 123 goals to show for it.
Van Persie is a vastly experienced forward that has locked horns with defenders all over the globe and his age (28) paints the picture vividly for everyone. It would hurt Arsenal really hard if the club loses a player of his experience because it will certainly create a big vacuum another striker has to come in to fill.
His Style of Play
In his Feyernoord days under the tutelage of Bert van Marwijk, van Persie played as a left winger and possessed exceptional dribbling skills but was also a talented striker of the ball. Touted as the long-term replacement for Dennis Bergkamp, van Persie began his Arsenal career as a supporting striker behind Thierry Henry.
This made van Persie a hotshot as he contributed immensely to Arsenal with countless goals and a boatload of assists for his team mates. The exits of Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo da Silva coupled with Wenger’s tactical switch to 4-2-3-1 has seen van Persie deployed as the sole striker and this has made him to harness his goal scoring skills. Like Midas…everything van Persie touches turns into goals.
His Replacements Are Not Capable Enough To Lead the Line
Arsenal has scored only 48 League goals this season and for those that don’t know, van Persie has 22 of them. Luckily for Arsenal, the demons of injuries have decided to settle with the club’s defenders instead of their regular victim from Rotterdam.
Van Persie’s present deputies in the centre forward department include a Moroccan clearly bereft of confidence and a Korean that hasn’t been deemed good enough to start a League game yet. Should anything happen to the Flying Dutchman, the club would activate its ‘panic mode’ because these players can’t even ‘score’ in a brothel even with a nympho doing a lap dance on their laps.
I just had to save the best for last.
In the next dictionary coming out in stores, a Robin van Persie would be defined as a “perpetual goal scoring machine of the first kind“. This Van-tastic striker can score a goal in any possible manner and this was shared by the great Alan Shearer when he tipped him to break his record:
“He will beat my total of 36 Premier League goals in a calendar year — a record, by the way, I was unaware of until it was mentioned to me on Match of the Day at the weekend. “Records are there to be broken and I can think of no better striker than the Dutchman to write his name in the history books.”
“Van Persie can score goals any way you like. He puts away headers, tap-ins and rockets.”
Feel free to check out my collection of van Persie’s top 20 goals for Arsenal.
Should Robin van Persie decide to leave Arsenal this summer, the Gunners shouldn’t begrudge him. Here are five reasons why.
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