Robin van Persie prior to his move to Manchester United last summer after eight years with Arsenal, had been on the winning side (for Arsenal) just twice against the Red Devils in their January 2007 2-1 win at the Emirates in the Premier League and their May 2011 1-0 win at the Emirates.
Last season, the Dutchman scored both of United’s goals against Arsenal, one at Old Trafford and one at the Emirates by which point United had already been crowned English champions but this season is shaping up to be an altogether very different campaign for both United and Arsenal following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and the arrival of Mesut Ozil at the North Londoners.
United have slowly started to recover their form and confidence under new boss David Moyes but they sit uncomfortably in 8th place in the league, taking just 17 points from possible 30, winning just four games from ten and losing three.
The 30-year-old striker has scored 6 goals and made 2 assists in the Premier League so far this term but is short of his tally by this point last term of 8 goals and four assists.
Meanwhile, over at Arsenal who currently lead the league by five points after a comprehensive 2-0 win over Liverpool on Saturday, Olivier Giroud has five goals and 4 assists from 10 appearances and Aaron Ramsey has 6 goals and 4 assists from the same number of games. The Gunners have been firing on all cylinders so far this term with their 22 goals scored coming from no less than 10 different players.
United’s 17 goals scored have come from 6 different plays with Wayne Rooney scoring 5 goals and making 5 assists in 10 appearances so far. Rooney accounts for 29.4% of United’s Premier League goals and 29.4% of their assists, Van Persie accounts for 35% of goals and 11.7% of assists. Between them they account for 64% of all United’s goals.
When Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford last term it was one of the most one-sided games I’ve seen in a long time – Santi Cazorla’s late goal to make the score 2-1 was nothing more than consolation and gives the Gunners too much credit – United completely controlled the game.
But this season with the reversal of fortunes, Van Persie and his Red Devils teammates will be a little more worried about the visitors next weekend – Arsenal can do some serious damage to Manchester United who, in terms of their title retaining ambitions, cannot afford to lose the game.
A fourth defeat or a third draw of the season for David Moyes in what will be 11 games played would be another nail in the coffin effectively for their campaign. A defeat for Arsenal would still see them top of the table but, more than that, it would signal a turning of tables for both Arsenal and their departed captain Robin van Persie.
image: © cactusbeetroot