Sunday 3 May 2015

RVP: The fall and fall of our Dutch striker

When Robin van Persie arrived at Old Trafford, there was something awe inspiring about his mere presence.
He just had it: a magician, the X Factor, whatever you want to call it, he had it.

RVP was the biggest name United fans had seen at OT since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, and boy did he live up to the billing.
In his opening season at Old Trafford, the Dutch striker was of absolute paramount importance in our march to that 20th league title.

In fact, he was so important that he led to United's current talisman, Wayne Rooney, being demoted to the bench.
Since the 2012/13 season, and the departure of his mentor Sir Alex has faded into memory though, so too has RVP's brilliance.

Last season showed how quickly talent can fade in the world of football as his goals scored figure dropped by more than 50% as he finished with 12 in the league.
This term, with only three games left, that number is 10.

His absence over the past few months has coincided with our best run of form this season prior to the encounter at Chelsea.

RVP's return yesterday against West Brom allowed the Dutch striker a home opportunity to show both Van Gaal and the United fans what we had been missing.
And in fact he did..... Michael Carrick. 

The shift Van Persie put in saw him miss chance after chance that the Van Persie of old would have buried.
20 minutes in, Ashley Young's ball arrived into his feet six yards out.
He put it wide.

Ten minutes later, a slick fluid move up the pitch involving  Rooney and Young saw the ball drop to RVP on the edge of the box.
Two years ago he would have swivelled and smashed a rocket into the top corner.

Yesterday, he struggled to control to ball, stumbled and lamely mishit a delayed pass to Fellaini with the West Brom defence back in position.

But then his day got even worse.

1-0 behind, United were awarded a penalty after a Saido Berahino handball.
Van Persie put the ball on the spot (I still think Rooney should have taken responsibility... I never felt confident that Van Persie would score).

My worst fears were realised. It was saved. It wasn't necessarily that bad a pen as much as it was a good save by the keeper.

The issue for Van Persie lies in the fact that he gave the West Brom stopper a chance.
The Dutchman has previously been applauded for his dead-eye ability from the spot.

Yesterday's spot kick had an almost apologetic air about it.

In just two season, RVP has gone from our inspirational talisman to a potential liability.
What little pace he had is gone, his touch is so far off what it was and his goal snaffling ability has simply evaporated.

He scored two goals for the Under 21s in midweek, sparking hopes he may rediscover his magnificent form of two years ago.
Instead, his 90 minute performance against the Baggies only confirmed his demise. 

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