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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Arsenal remained top without Robin van Perfect - reasons why?

The return of Robin van Persie for tomorrow's league cup semi-final first leg is great news. He is Arsenal's most technically gifted footballer and for me only Ronaldo rivals him in the Premier League for fantastic combination of sheer skill and excellent end product.

The fact that he has been out for three months and Arsenal have remained top (adding the sale of Thierry Henry into this context) is a superb effort that I don't think has received sufficient recognition.

For me it is testament to three great things about this third-generation team.

First: the philosophy of total football that Wenger has pervaded throughout the club and each player means that players can come in and out without the style and efficiency of play being greatly affected. Each player in the squad has the Arsenal Ability to succeed rendering absences as less significant as they could be.

Two: the great fighting spirit and unity that has come to the fore this season means that Arsenal as a collective are taking to the pitch with a resilient confidence regardless of who is absent.

Three: the immense character of Emmanuel Adebayor - in the absence of Henry and van Persie - in taking the forward responsibilites onto his shoulders. His goals, link-up play, great athleticism, sheer work rate and positive enthusiasm has been a vital factor in maintaining Arsenal's great start to the season. In December 2006 I wrote an article saying that Adebayor was to be believed in - and that faith is fully vindicated.

Good luck to RVP in the next few games. I hope they are injury-free and that the confidence he was exuding from his play last summer and early autumn returns as it should.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is indeed good news that RVP is included in the squad for tommorrow's game.

I suspect he'll only play part of the game though, but let's hope it's a winning part at that!

I disagree however, with the view that RVP is Arsenal's most technically gifted player.

In my humble opinion, Alexander Hleb is just as technically gifted, if not more so, than RVP.

Indeed, given Hleb's technical excellence with both feet, whether from a standing position or on the move, I'd argue that he's actually ahead of RVP in the technically gifted stakes.

However, in the final analysis, I'm just grateful that both players are employed by Arsenal...we are lucky to have them.

Incidentally, as much as I rate RVP as a player, I still think that he has got it all to do, in terms of proving, season after season, that he can score at least 20 plus goals for the team, as well as a decent number of assists too.

RVP seems to be viewed by many Arsenal fans as a proven, seasoned, match winner, in the same way that C Ronaldo now appears to be for Man Utd.

But I think RVP still needs to prove this on the pitch.

Yes, he's been unlucky with injuries, but that's why, in my view, there are still question marks over him.

Lets see how RVP does over a season or two without missing large chunks of the same through injury.

Then we can make a better, proper judgement about him.

1/08/2008 4:53 pm

Blogger Darren said...

You are a buzz killer previous commentor! I think over all Hleb has great technical ability, RVP can also stop short and throw defenders off much better and then of course ram the ball into the roof of the net!! So really what we are doin is comparing to footballers of different position, which cant be debated on, because they have different attributes to suit their position

1/08/2008 5:10 pm

Blogger T said...

Good comment anon, thanks.

I thought about Hleb as I wrote that sentence about RVP and hesitated. But I think about that kung-fu volley goal against Charlton, the one pre-season against Inter and the sheer technique of his penalties and free-kicks and that's why I place him ahead of Hleb. But as you say - its just great to have both.

Also good comments about RVP's fitness. My brother says the same thing - thinking that it is because of the acuteness of his play that he is prone to twisting and muscle injuries.

Yet, for me his potential to be as consistently effective as Ronaldo was shown in late 2006 and 2007 when he was on the pitch... and that's why its so frustrating to see him rooted on the sidelines.

Yes, we can make a fuller judgment about him when he gets a full season or two under his belt - but for me I have been convinced by what I've seen in the last 18 months that injury-permitting he has it all to be as effective as Ronaldo.

1/08/2008 5:15 pm

Blogger T said...

Good point too Darren, thanks.

1/08/2008 5:16 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a gooner and I can tell you now that ronaldo and rvp are not in the same league.

1/08/2008 5:34 pm

Blogger weirdo` said...

arsenal still top position because gunners is playing total-football.. :)

Feel free visit:The-Gunners-1886
Discuss and get match-event for Gunners... All the best...Gunners...thanks

1/08/2008 5:38 pm

Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

I think RVP is overrated. (But then I think Arsenal are too)

The goal that RVP scored, the volley, you know the one, where the ball is on the edge of the box at about the height of the cross bar and he leapfrogs the defender at Olympic high jump levels and then shins it into the top corner... yes, he SHINS it. All credit for the athleticism and the boldness to try it, but this was not a controlled volley by any means, it was a very lucky finish. The goal he scored against (i think) brad freidel last season. he cuts back in from the right wing, down by the corner flag, then curls it around the keeper and into the far top corner, was much more impressive. But nevertheless, he is not the new Bergkamp. But he is only young and he seems to be improving. I agree that in two seasons time, if he's averaging 15-20 goals a season, then he can be compared to other top strikers. But i very much doubt if any Liverpool fan would swap him for Torres, or Utd fan swap him for Ronaldo, or Blackburn fan swap him for Santa Cruz (okay maybe the last one)

At the start of the season the football played by Fabregas and the back four was stunning and created lots of chances for the whole team, and Febragas, RVP and Adebeyor took them. But over the last 6 weeks or so, Arsenal have begun to win games without playing attractive football. And indeed they have begun to drop points too. Luckily for them, their rivals have also dropped points.

I'm not saying Arsenal don't deserve to be top, they do, but I don't think it will last unless they can find the form they showed back in the first two months of the season.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that RVP's injury occurred at the same time as Arsenal stopped playing to their potential. He was pretty much on the score sheet every week. (if he wasn't fabregas was, its quite amazing really when you look back at the results - its not until november that you go two games without either player scoring, and for about 10 games straight one or the other or both score)

Maybe now he is back (hopefully without any more problems) we will see that he was the missing link for Arsenal and that stunning form will return to the team. But (maybe out of wishful thinking) I wouldn't count on it.

PS. I don't know what all this fuss about Hleb is??? but that's for another thread.

1/08/2008 6:47 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

Interesting comments all.
Alex. I am not sure about RVP scoring that goal with his shin. Is it even possible to do that from so far out. Can T or anyone else clarify this?

RVP has undated ability – but he is too injury prone. When we talk of technically gifted players, let’s not forget about Berbetov. Berba has great technical ability.

1/09/2008 8:33 am

Blogger Abdul said...

Good discussion.

Skipper, I agree with you - RvP's shin must be very talented to score from that far out with that much power!

What is clear is that RvP coming back from injury is a huge plus for Arsenal. He will add much needed depth to the forward line (I am not sure that Bendtner is ready for responsibility in the big games). It will also mean that Adebayor, who has been playing flat out in the league recently can be rested/rotated over the coming months.

1/09/2008 9:52 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Robin van Perfect maybe a tad too much to label the Dutchman but his ability to run at players, trick them and a sweet left foot from acute angles, as well as a nifty right, makes RVP a formidable player. He hasnt formed as well internationally but the concern here is with Arsenal and once he is playing, the chances are of a win more likely than anything else. Particularly from freekicks.

I believe the ball came off his shin rather than anywhere else for that goal against Chalrton at The Valley. Who cares, really, as long as it goes in and counts.


1/09/2008 12:53 pm


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