Why is Arjen Robben’s World Cup form a positive for Manchester United?

Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben has been in scintillating form at this year’s World Cup bagging three goals in the opening three group fixtures.

The 30-year-old has been superb in Brazil thus far, establishing himself as an early contender for player of the tournament. 

He utterly tormented Spain, scoring twice, as the Netherlands recovered from falling a goal behind to comprehensively thrash the defending champions. He then continued his fine form in the second game, versus Australia, firing in the opening goal to kick-start a 3-2 thriller.

In Robin Van Persie’s absence, the 30-year-old captained his side for the final group game against Chile and he thrived under the weight of the added responsibility. He provided another vital contribution in this match, picking out Memphis Depay in the dying moments in order to secure a 2-0 win.

  TeamPosGoalsShots AttemptedGoal AssistChances CreatedScoring Acc (%)AppsMins
Arjen Robben Netherlands MF 3 10 1 7 70.00 3 270

Robben has been the major beneficiary of the Dutch national side’s change of formation in Brazil. Louis Van Gaal has switched his system from the country’s traditional 4-3-3 to a 5-3-2, in which the Bayern Munich-man has excelled.

This transformation has allowed him to move from his normal position on the right-wing to play as one of the two strikers, partnering Robin Van Persie, in wins against Spain and Australia, and Jeremain Lens, versus the Chileans.

He has been terrific in this role, as the entire pitch has been opened up for him. Unlike his playing style on the right-wing, in which he often becomes too predictable, when deployed down the middle we witness moments of spontaneity in his performances.

  TeamPosDribble Succ (%)Pass Acc (%)Final Third Pass Succ (%)Goals on the Break (%)AppsMins
Arjen Robben Netherlands MF 58.82 76.81 74.07 66.67 3 270

Van Gaal clearly knows how to get the best of the 30-year-old winger and this poses the question, ‘Can he have the same impact at Old Trafford?’

There are a number of players who need a kick up the back-side following an underwhelming Premier League season and the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona head coach could have the desired effect upon his arrival in England.

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