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RvP holds the key
Difference-maker - van Persie
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have already sealed the crown as Premier League champions with six games to spare, having amassed a 16 point advantage over City in second place. So how have they gone from being practically neck and neck to being streets ahead of the competition in the space of a year? What has happened to change things so dramatically? Well, those questions can be answered in three simple words: Robin van Persie. The deadly Dutchman has been in scintillating form since his controversial £25 million switch from Arsenal and has notched a healthy 24 league goals so far this season putting him at the top of the goal scorers chart and on target for the Golden Boot.
Fittingly, it was van Persie’s sublime hat-trick that sealed the title for United in their 3-0 win over Aston Villa. The goals had class written all over them, particularly the second when he volleyed home sweetly from Rooney’s chipped ball over the top. His contribution has undoubtedly been the main influence in the pendulum swinging toward United this campaign.
United’s sheer domination of the league has surprised many this season. To have built up such a gap between themselves and the team that pipped them to the post last season is quite an achievement and the acquisition of van Persie has had a lot to do with that.
It’s not just been the goals that he’s scored but it’s been his general all round play. He links up well with his teammates and his determination and will to succeed is second to none. Before van Persie arrived at Old Trafford, you’d often see his strike partner Wayne Rooney back in his own penalty area, chasing back and giving his all for the course. This season, van Persie has been doing it as well. He seemed to want this trophy as much as, if not more than, any other United player.
Of course we can’t give van Persie all the credit. There have been other factors that have impacted the title race. Some of the City players who performed so well last season just haven’t been the same this time out. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and James Milner haven’t even been close to sort of standards they set last season. Carlos Tevez has had some flashes of brilliance but even he hasn’t been in the blistering form we’ve come to expect of the controversial striker. City have at times looked shaky at the back as well. Captain Vincent Kompany has looked a shadow of the rock solid, ever reliable defender we saw in the last campaign. Even goalkeeper Joe Hart has shown moments of uncertainty.
The United team, on the other hand, has largely flourished. Midfield metronome Michael Carrick joined van Persie in the nominations for PFA Player of the Year. We’ve seen the emergence of Jonny Evans as a top class defender, dramatically improving in stature from where he was last season. Right-back Rafael has been excellent as well and even young goalkeeper David de Gea, who looked a fish out of water when he first took to the field for United has really come into his own.
Rooney and Javier Hernandez have played strong supporting roles for van Persie in the United forward line and it really is a testament to the world class ability that van Persie possesses that Rooney has somewhat shrunk into the background since the Dutchman arrived at the club. It takes one hell of a player to come in and take over from Rooney as the main man but that’s exactly what the Dutchman has done.
So what would have happened ifvan Persie hadn’t joined United? Well, the title race would have been a lot closer that’s for sure. United may still have just shaded it, but it’s difficult to say.
What would have happened if van Persie had joined City? That would have put a completely different complexion on things. Of course, we can’t categorically say City would have won the title, given the huge points gap there is between them and United. But it’s highly likely they’d be at least on a level par with them. Perhaps it would have gone to the wire again like last season. City might have even won it comfortably. That is the kind of influence we are looking at here. Yes, it is only one player, but when it is a player as great as van Persie, the difference between having him in your side and not having him is astronomical.
Would Arsenal have won the title if he’s stayed at the Emirates? Probably not, as they are too poor defensively. That was undoubtedly one of the main reasons he left the Gunners. He wanted to win a trophy so badly. And whilst he would have loved to win one with Arsenal, no question about that, at the end of the day, the club’s ambitions did not seem to match those of a player who is as driven and determined to succeed as van Persie.
If you added van Persie to the squad the Gunners have now, they may have possibly been contenders to win a trophy. The rest of the team has certainly improved since last season. But the fact is, if van Persie was going to stay, they probably wouldn’t have bought the likes of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, so they’d probably be around about where they are now.
That was the dilemma van Persie was faced with. He was at a club who were happy just to finish in the top four every season. There are never any real thoughts of progression and improving the squad so they have a greater chance of winning a trophy. Yet, here he is now, with a title winner’s medal ready to be pocketed, thus proving he made the right decision to join United.
If Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best two players in the world, then Van Persie must surely be a close third. His technical ability is out of this world, his finishing is clinical and cut-throat and his attitude is exemplary. His will to give his all for the team and do whatever it takes to succeed has been well received at Old Trafford. Even Sir Alex himself, will recognise and appreciate the crucial role that their new number 20 has played in bringing home their 20th league title.
By richbrawn1 on April 27th, 2013 in Blow the whistle
RvP holds the key
31 May, 2013
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9 Oct, 2013
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11 Oct, 2013
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12 Oct, 2013
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