Posts Tagged ‘RVP’


Will Arsenal fans ever forgive Robin Van Persie?

By Stefano on April 29th, 2013

There was one very brief, but very poignant moment yesterday at The Emirates. After heading towards the away fans to applaud them the ex-Arsenal striker turned awkwardly towards a section of Arsenal fans and continued to clap. But with his ears ringing with boos the Dutchman realised that no one in the home section of the stadium was going to appreciate his gesture and he headed off down the tunnel.

I must admit I had very mixed feelings about RVP’s return. I knew it was going to hurt, but I wasn’t quite sure how much. Fortunately I missed the shenanigans at the start of the game, but I am told that it passed off without too much of an incident. And while seeing the fella tearing down on our defence wearing that horrible white shirt was an awful sight, I really couldn’t bring myself to add my voice to the pantomime booers.

I think I had moved on a lot more than I had previously thought.

As for RVP I don’t think that anyone can deny that he still has a real affection for the club. Heading for the wrong dressing room and hanging out with his old team mates afterwards said it all yesterday.

The sad part is that it is also clear that after yesterday RVP really wants Arsenal fans to still love him.

Today Patrice Evra has confirmed that RVP was hurt by the boos that greeted his every touch of the ball.

But then again, what did he expect…

So will Arsenal fans ever forgive RVP? I do wonder if the bitterness will start to subside a little. I think much of what we feel about him is fueled by the fact that he has been so successful at United. Next season won’t be the same. His lack of form in recent weeks shows that he is unlikely to be the exceptional player that he was at the end of his Arsenal carer and his start at United for much longer.

Maybe, and it is a big maybe, if Arsenal seriously compete for the tile next year and even finish above United things will start to look different.

So even though the manner in which he left Arsenal was pretty low and the fact that he went to one of our deadliest rivals, I wonder if in the long run RVP might be hailed once again as an Arsenal hero.

Time will tell…


Gervinho, Walcott, Podolski – who should start upfront for Arsenal today?

By Stefano on April 28th, 2013

With all the talk about Robin van Persie, this would have been a perfect opportunity for his successor at Arsenal, Olivier Giroud, to prove he’s been a decent replacement in his first Premier League campaign. Giroud has been unable to match Van Persie’s goalscoring tally, but his all-round play has been decent.

Giroud’s red card for a clumsy tackle at Craven Cottage last weekend means a three-game suspension, however, and therefore Arsene Wenger has a choice between Gervinho, Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski upfront this weekend. All three have more regularly started on the flanks, but Gervinho started the season well upfront, and the other two insist they prefer a central striking role.

Walcott’s main quality, of course, is his raw pace in behind. He’s often played well when given opportunities upfront this season, but expect Sir Alex Ferguson to field a centre-back pairing that won’t be sluggish against his acceleration. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic probably isn’t the right combination, and Jonny Evans alongside Chris Smalling worked well at the Emirates last season.

It’s difficult to see what Podolski offers over the other two ­ he’s similarly direct, and likes breaking onto through-balls, but lacks Walcott’s raw pace or Gervinho’s dribbling ability. Interestingly, the German hasn’t started a Premier League game since January, with some suggesting his lack of work rate and stamina in a defensive sense has frustrated Wenger.

If Podolski isn’t starting on the left, and doesn’t start upfront despite Giroud’s unavailability, you wonder precisely what his purpose at Arsenal is. Gervinho and Walcott seems a better bet, with the duo able to alternate between the right flank, and the centre-forward role.

Article originally published here.



Could Fergie drop RVP for the Arsenal game?

By Stefano on April 28th, 2013

Is there any need for Robin van Persie to start at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon? Manchester United’s number 20 scored the excellent hat-trick that sealed the club’s 20th league title on Monday night against Aston Villa, and might be given a guard of honour by the Arsenal team that sold him last summer.

But Van Persie still has an affection for Arsenal, respect for their supporters (see his non-celebration in the reverse fixture) and has constantly underlined his gratitude towards Arsene Wenger. There’s no particular reason for Van Persie to be involved this weekend, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him left out of the starting XI.

Van Persie’s hat-trick against Villa also saw him move ahead of Luis Suarez in the race for the Golden Boot ­ and with the Uruguayan suspended for the rest of the season (even an appeal is unlikely to cut the ban in half), Van Persie has effectively secured that award, which was probably the only reason he might’ve wanted to play.

While the Dutchman has largely remained injury free over the past two campaigns, he’s still a player that needs to be rested whenever possible.

Besides, Ferguson might prefer to give playing time to squad members that haven’t been regulars this season: Javier Hernandez has been a brilliant supersub but insists he prefers to start matches, while Danny Welbeck’s tactical intelligence has been useful, but he needs to score more. He hit the winner in this fixture last season, and is probably a more logical starter than Van Persie.

Article originally published here.


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Now it is rumoured that Arsenal players don’t want the guard of honour

By Stefano on April 25th, 2013

I wrote yesterday about how Arsenal fans need to get over it and give Manchester United, and their old pal Robin Van Persie, the guard of honour on Sunday.

Now in a classic piece of mischief making the Daily Mail is reporting that some of the players aren’t took keen on saluting their former team mate.

The paper says

Reluctant Arsenal players are privately unhappy about giving newly crowned champions Manchester United — and their former captain, Robin van Persie — a guard of honour when they meet at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday – but they are still expected to perform the honour.

A guard of honour is a tradition in games involving teams who have just won the title. Privately, a number of Arsenal players have expressed objections towards the gesture, particularly in front of their own supporters, but it is understood it will still go ahead.

There’s no attribution to the source of the story, so make of that what you will.

The Mail is certainly splashing a little fuel on a fire that could soon rage out of control.

Arsenal need to confirm or deny that the guard will happen and work with the fans to ensure that it goes off peacefully. If fans want to turn their backs on the United players that’s up to them.

However I think that anything that gives United players more determination to win a game that they really don’t need to – whereas Arsenal are desperate for the points – is not sensible.


Remind me – why did Arsenal sell RVP to United? Wenger’s worst ever mistake?

By Stefano on April 23rd, 2013

I am sure I am not the only Arsenal fan to have felt just a little bit nauseous watching RVP running round Old Trafford last night after not just winning the league but also scoring , well, a hugely impressive hat-trick. If he needed a  game to push him back into the the PFA Player Of the Year race he just delivered it. And after all those games where he couldn’t hit a barn door from six paces…

I personally am dreading Sunday now. Even if Arsenal thump United five nil to turn the screws on Spuds and Chelsea in the race for 3rd and 4th it will still not be ok. Before that the club has to undergo the humiliating experience of watching its once star striker parading round the pitch with his Premiership winners medal – something that he never got close to with us.

It just makes me think once again that what a catastrophic error Arsene Wenger made last summer and how he and the club have in no way atoned for it. We really were sold a pup by a manager and a board who ought to know better.

If we do finish fifth this season the management team can expect nothing but bile from fans who won’t blame the players but those stupid enough to make the huge mistake that has cost the colour so clearly.

So RVP wanted to go – fine. But to sell him to United was unforgivable, no matter how much they gave us. The move seriously damaged the club while strengthening its opponents. Had Wenger then spent thirty million on a striker that could set the league alight then it might have been more acceptable – but we ended up with Giroud, a good player but by no means the finished article. He is Bendtner with a tan and a sunny disposition.

If Arsenal lose on Sunday I think the atmosphere at The Emirates will be utterly poisonous. If Arsene Wenger and the board expect the fans to get behind the team they might want to ask themselves why they sold the fans out so badly in the first place.

Chickens… Roost… You get the picture.


Van Persie, Bale or Mata. Who would be your PFA Player of the year?

By Stefano on April 19th, 2013

The PFA Player Of The Year shortlist has been announced.

There is a bit of controversy around the list this year as there is arguably no outstanding candidate.

The shortlist comprises six candidates which have been voted for by players a month or so ago – they get two votes each.

Last year Robin Van Persie was the obvious choice and the year before Spurs’ Gareth Bale took the award.

This year… Well up until his goal drought RVP was a shoe in. He was sure to make the list as when it was compiled he was still knocking them in for United for fun. Surprisingly there isn’t really another obvious candidate from the Champions elect. Michael Carrick is the second option according to the bookies and with odds of 100-1 he probably won’t win.

Bale has once again been outstanding and features as does Luis Suarez from Liverpool? But is it right to to give the gong to a player whose team may finish outside the top four?

So the player IMO who should hopefully win the award is Chelsea’s Juan Mata. His form has been scintillating all year long and there have been times when he has kept his side afloat in their challenge for CL places, The FA Cup and the Europa Cup.

I guess the vote will go to Bale – unless RVP re-discovers his shooting boots – but the likable Spaniard really ought to get the nod.

Oh, and what happened to Michu?


RVP’s goal drought – now as bad as Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud

By Stefano on March 7th, 2013

The clamouring for Arsenal to sign a striker continues with fans desperate to see someone pull on a Gunners shirt who is clinical, predatory and consistent. Three words that can’t really describe the current incumbent Olivier Giourd.

Giroud has impressed in flashes this season, but for me he doesn’t get in enough goal scoring positions and never ever puts away any half chances. His record of shots to goals converted isn’t bad, but then the number of shots he has is quite low.

He is not a disaster but rather symptomatic of the way that Arsenal are this season – good in patches but lacking consistency.

Giroud then has scored three times in the last ten games he has played for Arsenal, which isn’t the most impressive of records.

Interestingly though there is another Premiership striker who has identical stats and it is not who you might think. Nope not Torres, but one RVP of Man United. The player has grabbed goals against Everton and Spurs in the last two months but it has been pretty slim pickings this year.

It did strike me in the game against Real that RVP was missing something from his game. Chances that you would have expected him to put away this season (and last) went begging. He also had a lot of bad luck – which if Karma does exist means he probably used it all up in the first half of the season.

It is hard to work out if this mid-season dip is something that RVP suffered at Arsenal. This is largely because in all his years at the club the Gunners only really got two full seasons out of the player. Last year, for example, the longest he went without a goal was four games, in fact it was rarely more than two.

In the same period last year (early Jan- early March) for example he scored ten goals in ten games.

Also, earlier in the season Van Persie pretty much kept United’s title challenge afloat

Remember this?

Martin Samuel in the Mail has worked out that had Arsenal kept Robin Van Persie for another season and his goal rate stayed the same then the situation would be reversed. Arsenal would be top of the Premiership and Man United would have been mid-table stragglers.

Martin’s theory runs like this.

United have gone behind to the first goal of the game in 10 Premier League matches and in seven have come back to win. Of those seven, five have featured crucial goals from Van Persie, including the equaliser against Fulham, a hat-trick against Southampton and the winner against Liverpool.

Now consider Arsenal with Van Persie’s 10 league goals this season added to their total. Supplement a single goal from Van Persie to the draws with Sunderland, Stoke City, Manchester City, Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton; add an equaliser to the one-goal defeats by Chelsea, Norwich City and Manchester United. That is a difference of 15 points, or the current spread between Manchester United (top, 36 points) and Arsenal (10th, 21).

Fortunately for Sir Alex, Kagawa, Hernandez and ironically, Rooney have filed the breach recently, but there is clearly a question over the form of the ex-Arsenal man.

Van Persie is clearly Sir Alex’s golden boy at the moment. But if he goes a few more games without finding the net some of that glow might start to recede.



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