Most forwards in the Premier League would be more than content with a return of 8 goals in 21 (2014) appearances, but Robin Van Persie isn’t just an everyday hit man. The flying Dutchman netted his first goal in 4 at the weekend, a terrific left footed strike into the top corner reminiscent of Giroud’s recent screamer against the Red Devils, digging himself out of a recent rut of form Van Persie also very nearly replicated his wonder header in the World Cup against then holders Spain only for an offside flag and fingertip save from McGregor in the City goal. United despatched of Steve Bruce’s Hull City- who currently hold the worst EPL record in 2014- 3-0 at Old Trafford, but it was the manner of United’s performance and almost total dominance that impressed Van Persie’s Dutch counterpart Van Gaal, this, along with a more recognisable RVP performance suggests United are on the right road to recovery. Van Gaal described United’s outing as the best yet under his early reign as David Moyes’ successor, also describing his country man’s goal as ‘beautiful’, and admitting he was ‘happy for him’.
In recent matches Van Persie has been particularly out of sorts, leading to some United fans suggesting the 31 year old is past his best. Every striker goes through dry spells but RVP is the type of player that will always offer something else; link up play, assists, sheer hard work, but in the Red’s recent game against old employers Arsenal- a game the Netherlands international would typically have been pumped up for- the complete forward could only muster 13 touches of the ball all game until he was substituted for young hot prospect James Wilson with 15 minutes remaining. So, is Robin Van Persie’s best years behind him or is he just lacking in confidence?
It doesn’t seem likely that RVP feels out of favour at United as it’s well known the United gaffer is a huge admirer, consistently picking him for club and country with the likes of; Rooney, Falcao, Wilson and Hunterlaar to compete with. On the other hand United are willing to spend big money in order to eradicate their poor form since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, having recently spent their record transfer fee for Angel Di Maria (£59.7M). At 31 you can’t blame RVP for wondering whether a replacement is being lined up, especially with Radamel Falcao currently on loan with a view to a possible permanent move when the current season ends, although the Columbian’s poor injury record may well put Ed Woodward and Van Gaal off. The most likely source of a miss-firing RVP is the form of United in general, a visibly emotional player on the pitch, Van Persie has been performing continually frustrated and anxious, which could well be leading to poor touches and snatched efforts on goal. David De Gea being United’s most recent star player by some margin tells it’s own story, but with 3 wins on the bounce and captain Rooney and co starting to hit some form, now is the time for RVP to silence any critics and make United a force to be reckoned with once again.
Personally this writer is backing Manchester United for a top 4 finish, with Robin Van Persie notching 20+ goals this season, but what lies in store after that is unclear. The ex Feyenoord man’s current contract runs out in 2016 with January contract extension rumours looming in the air.