Friday, 3 December 2010

Forest City Favourites - Robin van Persie

Because I didn't get to watch the Cavs game last night, and due to their humbling loss I probably wouldn't be writing about them anyway, I thought I'd do something different for a change. My posts in the near-future will now include some player profiles on my favourite athletes, from the past and the present. Basically, when I'm bored and can't think of anything to write, I'll do a piece on one of my favourite players. I have already dabbled in this a bit, with my post on Asdrubal Cabrera, my favourite current Cleveland Indians player a few months ago. Today's edition will focus on the Arsenal and Netherlands' striker, Mr Robin van Persie.

Without sounding like I have a huge man-crush on the guy (debatable...), I've been a massive fan of van Persie for years now. I think I really began to admire our Robin towards the end of his first season with the Gunners, especially after he coolly slotted away his penalty in the shoot-out against Man United in the 2005 FA Cup Final. He started off the next season in blistering form, earning the Player of the Month award in November 2005, and he scored some beautiful goals that year (the free kick against Wigan stands out, and that beauty against Blackburn). In 2006/07 he got even better. In what was to be Thierry Henry's final season with Arsenal, van Persie really stepped up his game and, despite missing big chunks of the campaign through injury, finished as the club's top scorer with 13 goals in all competitions. In true van Persie fashion, he scored some magnificent goals that year, but will be remembered best for his stunner of a volley against Charlton. A sublime finish. With Henry's departure, Robin became the club's top striker for the 2007/08 season, and started cementing his place as my favourite Gooner. Again he started the year on fire (including an amazing free kick against Sunderland), but injuries took their toll again on the Dutch striker, and he frustratingly missed large parts of the season for another year running. He bounced back in 2008/09, recording his finest season in an Arsenal shirt to date. Robin finished the year with 20 goals in all competitions for the club, plus plenty of important assists, and was voted Arsenal's Player of the Season as a result. Naturally, van Persie scored some real peaches that season; a brace at Stamford Bridge gave Arsenal a comeback win against Chelsea in late Novemeber 2008, and his goal against Liverpool is right up there as one of his best efforts. In 2009/10 van Persie was ruled out for most of the campaign with a nasty ankle injury, but still managed to record 10 goals in all competitions.

Unfortunately, injuries have haunted Robin's Arsenal career, and have overshadowed his achievements on the pitch. Despite being one of our most-technically gifted players, and a proven striker, I think a lot of fans have lost patience with van Persie and his never ending battle for fitness. When he's healthy, Robin is one of the best guys in the squad but the problem is, the man is made of glass. However, you have to give him some credit, as every time he has returned from injury, van Persie has regained his old form and become a key contributor to the team again.

As you might expect, van Persie has again missed a lot of time this year through injury. Robin hurt his ankle against Blackburn in August, which sidelined him until very recently. In the past couple of weeks he has made his return to the first team and is slowly regaining his form, evident with some magic moments on Tuesday in the Carling Cup victory over Wigan. I just hope he can remain unharmed for the rest of the year, because when he's firing on all cylinders, Robin van Persie is one of the finest strikers in the Premier League, and possesses the deadliest left foot in the country. He offers the club something different up front, and is a valuable asset to Wenger's side. I reckon he could create a devastating partnership with Chamakh, but alas, it remains to be seen. The way van Persie plays the game, his mastery over the ball, and his ability to strike the ball with devastating power has made him not just my favourite Arsenal player of the current crop, but probably one of my favourite Gunners of all time.

Arsenal face Fulham tomorrow at the Emirates, another important game for us. I will of course miss the game, as I'll be stuck selling books to the merciless Christmas-present-hunting masses, 9 til 5. It gets worse, because my brother, his son, and my Dad will be there in North London, watching it live. If I dwell on this any longer I might cry. At least I'm getting a programme out of it. Until next time peeps!

Thanks for reading.

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