There’s only one place to begin with a preview of the game against Man Utd. This game is the first time RVP faces Arsenal since his highly controversial move to Manchester in the summer. The manager has openly declared that respect should be shown to Van Persie. He also says that every time we face Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor, and will no doubt say the same about Walcott when he leaves in the new year (a dead cert for me I’m afraid). I understand he has to say this – he can’t say to our fans that they should go out and abuse the player. However, if he thinks anything BUT vile abuse will be hurled at the dutchman then he is very naive indeed.
I believe that the manager has less reason, on this occasion, to suggest we should respect Van Persie. This is because of the statement he submitted on his personal website, doubting the manager and his ambitions for the club. This is a player who spent 8 seasons at Arsenal, returning perhaps a season and a half of consistent and injury-free brilliance. But what about the other 6 and a half seasons? Those were largely spent in the treatment room, picking up a nice paycheck no doubt. 3 seasons ago who would have bought him? A player with class and loads of potential, but would many clubs have been willing to spend money on a player and pay huge wages only for him to lay on the physio table most of the time? Last season, he was deservedly awarded player of the year. But he owed it to Arsenal and moreover Arsene Wenger to repay the loyalty shown to him for all the seasons beforehand where he had played a bit-part role at best. What hurt about the transfer were two things. The open criticism of the club; completely unnecessary and done to force a transfer against the wishes of the club that he owed so much to. But the salt in the wound was that the transfer was to Man Utd.
I believe that Arsenal fans, if being honest with themselves, accepted that RVP was a player who deserved to win titles that perhaps he may not have succeeded in doing so at Arsenal, given his age. We would have reluctantly accepted a transfer to Italy or Spain where he could be a domestic and european champion with one of the big clubs on the continent. But to publicly