Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Faltering Arsenal Need van Persie To Shine Against Chelsea

Arsenal went 21 games unbeaten this season before finally losing 3-1 to Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The Gunners’ fine run of form included draws with both Manchester United and Liverpool, and victories over Sevilla and arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

However, Arsene Wenger’s young squad have only managed to pick up four points in their last three Premier League matches since losing top spot in Group H of the Champions League to the Sevillistas.

The loss to Middlesbrough has dampened the Gunners early-season hopes of winning the title and brought the depth of the Arsenal squad into question. It seems that Arsenal will need some impetus to get back to their winning ways.

That impetus could be the return of Robin van Persie.

The news of his return has rejuvenated Arsenal fans, who believe that the Dutch striker could be what Arsenal need to get back to the top of their game.

Although Emmanuel Adebayor is the Premier League’s joint top scorer this season, along with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, the big Togolese striker has, at times, looked separated from the team as a lone striker.

Van Persie and Adebayor had been forming a special bond prior to the Dutchman’s injury on international duty, and the lanky African has often stated his desire to play alongside him since the injury.

While Arsenal aren’t exactly short in the goals department having scored more goals than any other team so far this season, Van Persie can bring a lot to the table when Arsenal face Chelsea on Sunday.

While Didier Drogba was last season’s top scorer in the Premier League, his goals-to-games ratio was slightly lower than that of the injury-prone van Persie, who managed to score 11 goals despite starting in only 17 league games. His form continued into the current campaign, seeing him score five times in only seven games before injury struck.

All know about his goal-scoring abilities though. What people often forget is that Van Persie is more of a Dennis Bergkamp-esque player than an out-and-out striker.

The 24 year-old forward follows in the steps of his countryman and former team-mate, adding assists to goals, making him the complete forward. Last season van Persie tallied up seven assists in his 17 Premier League starts, an impressive number.

If you think Arsenal have been in top gear lately, just wait until you see them with a fully fit squad.

Van Persie is the man to watch as Arsenal prepare to face a Drogba-less Chelsea team (the Ivorian underwent knee surgery earlier this week), and could quite possibly be Arsenal’s top scorer this season even in spite of his injury troubles.