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Arsenal: A One Van Team With Robin van Persie

He is the man on everybody’s lips at the moment and has almost single-handedly lifted Arsenal out of their early-season crisis. Van Persie has been phenomenal since the beginning of the calendar year and is essential to Arsenal, but at the moment, they need him starting all of their games. Last night, Wenger showed everyone the dilemma he has when his captain is not available for selection. It was not a disastrous performance, but it was one that contained too many aspects of the old Arsenal. There were too many chances wasted and the tendency of letting the game slip away from them crept back into their game.

It was all underpinned by Wenger’s decision to leave Robin van Persie on the bench, which he later admitted had been a mistake. The Premier League’s leading goalscorer was finally summoned from his seat on 62 minutes and didn’t have a profound effect, mainly because his team-mates had lost their momentum, and it was clear that he was needed from the start. But if Arsenal seriously wish to enter the highly competitive top four this season, they simply cannot rely on Van Persie to rescue them in every game.

The Dutchman’s injury record suggests that it would be foolish to start him in every game, however, after he’d just scored a hatrick against Chelsea, it was a big mistake to not start him, and Wenger will be disappointed to let an easy chance of qualification for the Champions League slip. Nevertheless, Wenger’s men are going to have to learn to cope without him because Van Persie is so injury prone, and last night showed us that they have a lot to learn. They lacked flair and a general understanding amongst the team, which is always present with their captain. Marseille are only ninth in Ligue 1 but last night they dominated central midfield for long periods and had the better of most of the game. There was a promising first half from Aaron Ramsey who ran out of steam later on, and Santos is no doubt a promising player but is too prone to inexperienced runs and too often the cause of gaping holes on the left side of Arsenal’s defence.

So what will happen when Van Persie is rested, or injured, which he will undoubtedly need to be? Surely Wenger cannot let his team be as mediocre and slow as they were against Marseille, because that really will get them nowhere. Van Persie is the club’s most influential figure, behind Wenger, and in the absence of Jack Wilshere, carries the hopes of the club, but somehow they must assemble their team to be just as good without him. Arshavin’s rapid decline as a forward and Marouane Chamakh’s recent dire performances make it much harder in the striking front, but with a strong goalkeeper in Scezney, a defence that has much potential, and exciting attacking players such as Ramsey and Walcott, it is very possible that Arsenal can carry on their positive performances, should Van Persie not be involved.

Arsenal supporters are understandably frustrated at their side’s performance, and it is a worry for Wenger looking at them perform without Van Persie, because Arsenal were poor. He is pivotal to the club and yes, Arsenal do have enough potential to perform as well as they are at the moment without him, but this needs a lot of work, and in reality, Van Persie is the man they need to keep fit.

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  1. Rod

    November 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Hey sports fans—-the Arsenal-WBA match is being shown live on Sat. on Fox Deportes at 11 am. In Spanish I guess

  2. brn442

    November 3, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Van Persie – when fully fit, is arguably the best and most technically complete striker in the top division. As for his fitness, yes – he has struggled with injury the last few seasons but to be fair, unlike Saha or Darren Anderton (a few years back) – players capable of doing their groin in with a cough, It’s not RVP’s fault that he almost had his ankle broken playing for Holland. Some of his injuries were the result of horrible tackles.

  3. Jack Tomczuk

    November 2, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Wenger is very worried about overworking Robin because of the obvious injury concerns. Right now, the league games are more important because Arsenal are in 7th, and even with the draw on Tuesday, they still lead the group. Van Persie played the entire match in Marseille when Ramsey scored the late winner, and he was not involved in that goal.

    I do agree that Arsenal need to learn to play without RvP because Wenger will have to rest him. Park played well against Bolton in the Carling Cup, so he deserved a chance. Unfortunately, Park was ineffective.

  4. R2Dad

    November 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Mata makes the case that if you’re going to been known talking to a player, you’d better seal the deal. yeah, they’re playing better at the moment but the team is one injury away from a plunge down the table (again). RVP cannot continue this way the entire season. So, what’s the game plan come January? Will Wenger still insist he doesn’t need anyone, just like he did before the mauling?

  5. Pabz

    November 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    As a gooner I’m just happy that RVP is fit and on fire and long may that continue… So far so good,
    I’m not sure I wouldve left him out against marseille but then maybe Arsene is thinking west brom is a bigger game because we are in a good champs league position but are still patching up our season in the league.
    Just a thought.

  6. Frank

    November 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Re Edwards comment… The point I make is that Arsenal need Van Persie in there team at the moment, because in my opinion, they struggle without him. But, Van Persie needs to be rested because he is so injury prone, and if they don’t rest him, it is very likely he will get injured. So Arsenal need to learn to play without him.

    • Todd

      November 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      It’s evident, to me anyways, that we need to delve into the January transfer window and pick up a striker worthy of playing and producing on RVP’s off days. Hazard would be tremendous. Maybe offload Chamakh too, talk about a pud.

  7. RVPFan

    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    No doubt, he is a footballer that gives Arsenal a completely different dimension. Not only is he a prolific goalscorer and only Cristiano Ronaldo bettered him on that department this calendar year, but his intelligent movement opens up gaps for the midfield to exploit. People attribute what little success (if I may) that Arsenal have had, to Fabregas and Nasri in the past 3 years, but my vote goes to Van Persie, even when he was injured so much during that time.

    It is impossible to explain his contribution to someone who hasn’t followed Arsenal for the last 4 years. In games that he has played in the last 4 years, his goals and assists always seem to come at the most vital time. Even Wenger said, in games that Van Persie has played, the dutch hit man has never let him down. Not only has Van man not let Wenger down, he has not let us Arsenal supporters down as well. His loyalty and his dedication is unquestionable. His only issue always has been his injury records, but people always seem to forget Fabregas was injured so much too. I would like to see the statistics of Fabregas’s injury versus Van Persie’s, they might be very close than people think.

  8. Edward

    November 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    So, van Persie is injury-prone and should be rested, but shouldn’t be rested, but…maybe I just don’t get the point here.

    • Fernando Gingerbread

      November 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Rested vs Stoke–yes. Rested for CL football–no.

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