Yes, it’s all about Robin Van Persie at the moment and the Dutchman, having not opened his account in the first five games, and only scoring 1 goal in the first 9 games of the season (in all competition), his recent form has changed those stats completely. The pivotal striker now has 7 in 10 league games and if he continues at that rate, he could well hit over 20 by the end of the season in the league alone!
When Robin wasn’t scoring, Arsene told the world to be patient, and of course, when you’re beating teams like Everton 6 – 1 with loads of other scorers, you kind of don’t mind. But with the defeat to Man United, we all realised that we did need the Dutchman to start scoring, because once he starts, he won’t stop. And I really don’t believe we’ve seen the best of him yet this season – I think there is much more to come.
In the post match interview after the Sp*rs game, the boss compared him to Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, and had this to say:
“I think he is a mixture [of players]. He is less a runner with the ball than Thierry Henry and is not completely Dennis Bergkamp because he plays high up the pitch. But he is the kind of player with the kind of game we have who is vital because when you play the ball through the lines to his feet, his first touch is perfect and that allows us to join in. And then he can give you a little pass which makes everybody dangerous. In the box he is intelligent and clever.”
And from now on, he shall be named, TVB – Thierry Van Bergkamp – okay, so that’s like the lamest name in the world! But you’d have to agree – he does have the qualities of both players and he’s trained with both of them during his career at Arsenal, so you’d expect some of it to rub off. Robin does have one of the most lethal left foot’s in the game, and despite his right being his “chocolate leg”, he can score with it. There have been times when I’ve said “just hit it with your right” as the striker turns in and then shoots with his left, but as we saw against Inter Milan in the Emirates cup the last season, his right foot is definitely not a chocolate leg!
The current form of the striker is actually very strange, as he’s just had a kid and probably not getting much sleep!
“My family life is fantastic. The main things in my life are my two kids and my wife. It makes you stable and gives you a good basis to perform. Two weeks ago, it was really hard and I was struggling physically but it’s better now. When you play at this level, you need to recover and get your rest here and there and that is what I am doing.”
You can just imagine Robin having a nap at the training ground, in the canteen and during half time! I have to say, it’s a massive turn around from the RVP that joined us – famed for his bad behaviour – thanks to Arsene (which Robin has openly admitted), he’s a changed man, the lead striker at our club with a family now and two kids. A model professional and an example to all.
We’ve drawn Man City this year in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup and the game will be at their ground and the first time we play them since the infamous 4-2 loss and Adebayorgate scandal. It will be very interesting to see who will play, but I do think it will be a squad very much based on youth, with the likes of Carlos Vela, Silvestre and Senderos adding the necessary experience.
RVP though has admitted he’d love to play in the game – I’m sure he wants to beat them and get us through to the next round and banish the memories of the league game there.
“I want to play that one. It was a good game last time because they have a good side. It will be a good challenge for the youngsters. If they can find the right mix like they did against Liverpool, they have a big chance of winning. They showed some quality in that game. We fancy winning this one. I would love to play – if the boss decides to let me play, I am happy to.”
I really can’t see Robin get the nod for this one, he is vital for the premiership campaign and with Nik Bendtner out until December, there will be more onus on keeping the Dutchman fit!
I’ll leave you with Arsene’s summary of how Van Persie is doing in his new role and I’ll hopefully be back to give you an AZ Alkmaar preview, depending on where my travels take me!
“I don’t want to set targets but why not? If you look at the chances he has had since the start of the season you cannot say he won’t reach 25 goals. Robin has taken much more responsibility because he is up front. He has committed himself to the club for a long period and he is at an age, 26, where a footballer becomes really efficient, mature and wants to win things. That is why I believe he can be the best passer in the league and the best goalscorer in the league. When you look at the goals he scores they are always impressive. You don’t see him at the start as a target man but when you play him there you see he has everything of a target man. He has a short backlift, he is an intelligent player and turns very quickly. What he has around the box is very difficult to give to a striker. He moves away from the defenders around the box in a very perfect way. The timing of his runs are fantastic and that is why I thought he could play there.”
RVP has adapted his game now and looks comfortable there too – the 4-3-3, a master stroke of genius from the gaffer, without a doubt!