Last season started in a very predictable way for Van Persie, getting injured in our 3rd game of the season. Van Persie didn’t return until he came on as late sub in a home defeat to Newcastle in early November. The Dutchman then found match sharpness hard to come by and he didn’t start a game until we defeated Chelsea 3-1. Then all hell broke loose. Robin went on to score 18 Premier League goals, at an average of a goal every 98 minutes.
Here’s how he did it.
Left Foot 12
Right Foot 5
It goes without saying that his left foot is his strongest asset but he’s been able to utilise his weaker foot, or should I say his chocolate leg to his advantage. Robin only attempted 12 shots with his weaker foot, that’s a conversion rate of 41%, compare that with his left foot conversion rate of 20%.
If we focus on the placement of Robin’s goals and shots on target, it demonstrates his varied approach to shooting.
Goals Scored Detail
As you can just under half of his goals scored end up going into the keeper bottom left hand corner. This is down to Robin favouring his left foot and he can generate more power from cutting across the ball. It is however no surprise that 13 of his goals have come from shots into the corners of the goals.
The standout number here shows Van Persie having most of his attempts saved in the centre of goal. Accuracy doesn’t always pay off, as we see every week in the EPL, shots do tend to go straight at the keeper. As both graphics illustrate, he doesn’t hog one particular side. He varies up his shooting, although most of his success comes to the keepers left.
Robin has also adapted very well to his position as a lone striker in a 4-3-3.Unlike Arsenal Legend Thierry Henry, Van Persie does most of his work within the width of the box. 67 of his 97 attempts at goal came from inside the area and 35 of those were from within the centre of the box alone. He’s disciplined in his role and that helps bring others into play. Robin has created 25 chances for his teammates and he’s managed 7 assists in total.
Then there’s Van Persie the set piece taker. His free kicks used to bring an air of expectancy among the Arsenal faithful but now, not so much.
Free Kick Breakdown
Direct Free Kicks 9
Off Target 5
Hit Woodwork 0
That goal was slightly fortunate, as the wall disintegrated away at Birmingham City, but it proved to be the catalyst for Van Persie’s goal scoring run. He does need to make the keeper work more but when you assess his overall game, he can continue as he pleases (but maybe someone else can nudge him off free kicks!)
Van Persie has matched and set new records since the turn of the year, scoring in 9 successive away games and equalling Ronaldo and Henry’s record of scoring 18 times since the turn of the year. So he’s in good company there. Ultimately though, we’ll never know how good Van Persie is until we can get at least 30-35 league games out of him but if he continues his form of 2011, the golden boot and hopefully trophies await.