Arjen Robben, when he first debuted for Chelsea football club against Blackburn in the season 2004/05, I was sitting in the back of my brother-in-law’s car listening to the BBC football live match coverage. Chelsea went three goals up. Final score 4-0. The brilliant Dutchman would add another dimension to their boring attack alongside Damien Duff on the other flank. And central would be the target man of Didier Drogba. Their wing play was as times unplayable especially when Robben played. Talk about the Eden Hazards, Willians or Pedros of the world, these 3 wouldn’t have come close to the Dutchman.
Eden Hazard as we are seeing, is kind of overrated, not finding any form whatsoever. Pedro is still settling into the club and only Willian has been the only performer. Whereas Robben’s pace and direct wing play had many defenders fooled and not many full-backs or defenders were able to contain him. The only downside would have to be his injuries sustained whilst at Chelsea. Many a time he would have been their match-winning performer. However, when he did play, he did chip in with the goals that he is doing regularly for Bayern Munich, especially the cutting in off the right flank and shooting at the far corner.
And the fact that it took Chelsea nearly 5 years once he’d left in the 2007/08 season for Real Madrid, for Robben’s successor to be found says a lot of the Chelsea failed pursuit of their wingers to an extent. Florent Malouda, a £13.5million signing from Lyon did okay but ultimately wasn’t in Robben’s class. Joe Cole was slowly fading and Shaun Wright-Phillips was back at Man City. Others came and failed too like Victor Moses. Juan Mata came in in the 2011/12 season hoping to be the winger that the fans hoped but also not the answer. And as recently the likes of De Bruyne, Andre Schrrule, Juan Cuadrado has been bought in and sold in quick succession tells you just how hard it is to replace a world class player in Robben. Eden Hazard might be the one eventually but we are seeing too few of that and way behind the supreme Dutchman. What’s more the Belgian himself is being linked to a summer move to Real Madrid! So if he goes, no chance of seeing what he can do next.
Never have I seen a winger that take the Premiership by storm like Arjen. Take a bow Robben! PSV produced you, Chelsea nurtured you, Real Madrid was a short-lived one and it was at Bayern Munich that you truly became a star you are now. Performances like the one against Spain in the 5-1 demolition will be long remembered and in the 2012/13 season that Bayern Munich did the treble was also Robben’s redemption having missed the penalty after extra time that gave Chelsea the Champions League back in 2011/12 season.
And currently Robben is in and out of the Bayern Munich side with Kinsley Coman and Douglas Costa threatening to replace the Robbery partnership in Ribery and Robben. Robben still has much too offer and it would seem absurd for Pep Guardiola to let him rot now. Obviously pace is his strongest asset and beating players. He simply has to carry on playing and certainly has his best years maybe until he reaches 35.