Arsenal Player Focus – Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie lasted just 34 minutes into his first start of the season before being forced off with yet another injury. It is a huge blow for the Netherlands forward, as he only came back from a serious injury the end of last season. The Dutch star enjoyed a good World Cup, featuring in every game en route to the final, only to lose out to Spain.

Despite having only played for half an hour, the Dutch maestro stamped his mark on the game, as his through ball to Theo Walcott set up the opening goal of the game. As he and his teammate Cesc Fabregas were given extended leave by Arsenal, this was the first time they had started a Premier League game this season. Neither is match fit, but this was a step forward in gaining their sharpness back. But in what was an innocuous challenge with Blackburn’s Phil Jones, Van Persie’s campaign has got off to the worse possible start. The Dutch FA have confirmed he will be out for ‘at least a few weeks’ with an ankle injury. He is no stranger to ankle injuries, as last year he ruptured his ankle ligaments on international duty with Holland. After being named Player of the Month for October, he did not appear again for the Gunners until April this year, in the 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

When Emmanuel Adebayor departed from the Emirates Stadium in 2009, van Persie was set to become the lead striker. But his long-term injury scuppered those plans and questions were raised as to whether he will ever fulfil his potential. There is no doubt he is a quality player with an abundance of goals in him, but his vulnerability to injuries is hindering his attempts to become the world’s best. The most league goals he has scored in a league campaign for the Gunners is 11 in 28 appearances, in the 2008/2009 season. The next season saw him score seven goals in just 10 appearances before his long lay-off, showing he has the capability to become the leading front man of the team.

Having opted to take the recently vacated No 10 shirt, there was fresh optimism that this was the year van Persie would power Arsenal to silverware. Despite his new setback, he could still play an important role in the Reds hunt for glory. If Arsenal are to win the League title this season, it is imperative they have van Persie fit for the majority of the campaign. Last year they came close, but it was a case of what could have been if the forward had stayed fit throughout.

His injury is a major blow to Arsenal who have a number of players missing already. Nicklas Bendtner is out until November, Aaron Ramsey is still recovering from his broken leg, Samir Nasri recently had knee surgery and Emmanuel Frimpong suffered cruciate knee ligament damage just before the season started.

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