A Bit Of Cesc, A Lot Of RvP
The one thing that is apparent over the past forty eight hours is that nobody has a clue about what is going on at Arsenal and their stance over Cesc. Newspaper innuendos and Catalan cravings whacked the Hornet’s nest extremely hard and all that remains a reed breaking the surface as directors at Barcelona jumped into the pond to avoid the swarm venting their anger.
As the transfer fee rises more quickly than an apartment block on the Costa Blanca, the initial fee of £30m has long since been ridiculed by everyone. Similarly, the end of Wenger’s reign was foretold as fever broke in the media pack, the medication to calm their soaring temperature has now brought some realism to their fantasy, no managerial casualties and in fact, were the captain to leave the squad may just be stronger. Different but stronger.
Stronger is also a word that one hopes can be used with Robin van Persie. Fitter would be another, avoiding being crocked in meaningless international friendlies is a genuine target for the Dutchman next season. Participating in the World Cup will help him get match fitness which should not be dulled by a four week break post his countries elimination in the semi-finals.
van Persie took to the central strikers role like a duck to water, even if his first goal took a little longer coming last season than he would have hoped for. However, the impact he had is highlighted by his stats, which even in you do not like using them in arguments, were unarguably impressive. A goal every other game and eight assists means that he contributed virtually a goal a game in the twenty appearances he made for Arsenal. It was not fluke. He scored twenty and created thirteen in the previous campaign’s forty-four matches.
The Dutchman has a touch of the Pires Mentality about him. Pires claimed he drew as much as pleasure from creating as scoring, van Persie is not much different:
I love to be involved with the game. I don’t want to wait and sit and score a tap in. That is for me not good enough. Football is much more than that. In my opinion you help your team more with the way I like to play than when you are just sitting back.
In a way it is unselfish but you will get chances because everyone sees that you play for the team. It always comes back to you. When you respect the game, the game respects you and your team respects you too so you will get the ball back.
The days of the poacher – or goalhanger as they were known in the playground – are long gone. A striker who contributes nothing but goals is essentially doing his job but working hard for the team, creating the space for others to exploit was a key feature of the start to last season and why last October Arsenal were expected to score more than 100 goals over the remaining games. The absences of van Persie and others put paid to that.
It is his fitness that is the problem. In each of his season’s at Arsenal, he has missed at least a quarter of the thirty eight Premier League games. Some injuries were impact, others muscular. Certainly he has been unlucky, the misfortune costly to the side. The shame of this is that he has the potential to be a great central striker. Drogba uses his power to muscle to goal; van Persie is a more intelligent player, using his brain to outwit defences as well as his abundance of talent.
A lot of his finishes though are instinctive, crucial to a player who will no doubt be challenging for the Golden Boot if he can play more than thirty Premier League fixtures. Whilst Chamakh will no doubt be signed for cover and rotation as well as the hope of proving to be a regular player, you cannot help but wonder if Arsenal’s success is linked as closely with the abilities of Cesc as it is van Persie.
Over his Arsenal career, he averages a goal every 2.7 games, which is half-decent when you consider he played across the line throughout that time. That has lowered to a goal every other game in the past two seasons, the consistency in front of goal that is required to challenge for honours.
His overall contribution should not be understated. He is a better central striker than Adebayor, less prone to run offside and equally adept at providing an outlet when the team is under pressure. He is not noted as, nor is he, a target man who plays with his back to goal yet he has all of those attributes; good in the air, excellent control and physically strong in the challenge. He is as crucial to the coming campaign as his captain. I would argue he is equally as hard to replace. Hopefully next season we won’t have to.
Posted on May 20, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 206 Comments.