Whilst there is no doubt Robin van Persie’s arrival at Old Trafford last summer has aided their title challenge, it appears clear the high-flying Dutchman is the number one reason Manchester United currently sit 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Despite the price of signing Van Persie from Arsenal – he is an absolute steal – and he’s been worth every penny for the Red Devils this term. He’s scored 19 goals in the Premier League over 26 appearances.
United’s goal-difference is 31, an impressive 7 goals ahead of Manchester City’s 24 and, considering the way United’s noisy neighbours clinched the title last year that is no bad thing.
But, let’s be realistic, it won’t be won on goal-difference this season – United are so comfortable, it’s not even a race anymore. 12 points clear means they’d have to lose four games and then some and City would have to win every match from here on out.
Van Persie was the difference in the Manchester derby at the Etihad back in early December when his freekick on 90 minutes deflected off Samir Nasri into the back of Joe Hart’s net to win the game, after Wayne Rooney had put United 2-0 long before up before half-time.
Other than that result, there are four other games in which a Robin van Persie goal won the game for United – meaning they would not have won the game if it wasn’t for him – those were his goals against Reading, West Ham, Liverpool, and Southampton.
In fact, statistically Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney have scored more winners for United between them – 7 decisive goals that United went on to win games with. I’m excluding draws from my equations because United have only drawn 2 games in the whole season and Van Persie had very little to do with those anomalies.
Now let’s not forget Van Persie’s assists – of which he has 10 in the Premier League this season. Effectively, that means that without him, United would have likely scored 10 less goals than they have, technically. So overall this season the Dutchman has been worth 15 decisive points and 29 goals that wouldn’t have been scored without him.
Funny isn’t it? That United are 12 points ahead – clear conclusive evidence that without last season’s Golden Boot winner the title race would have been a very closely fought contest.
As it stands presently, there is no contest and that has everything to do with the money Manchester United spent in the summer.
image: © little-pete