Stats: Proof that United striker Robin Van Persie is on the decline

Manchester United's Robin Van Persie has struggled this season and his statistics suggest his career could be taking a turn for the worst.

After David Moyes' sacking as Manchester United manager last season, Dutch striker Van Persie pledged: "We will be back". It was a statement of intent from the striker and now with Louis Van Gaal at the helm the Red Devils are taking small steps in the right direction, but it appears the 31-year-old is going the opposite way.

After a breakthrough season scoring 30 league goals with the Gunners in 2011/12, Van Persie opted to join Manchester United the following season and he single handedly won United their 20th league title during his debut season.

  TeamPosGoals / appsGoals Openplay / appsTotal Shot / appsTotal Cross / appsAppsMins
2011/12 Arsenal FW 0.79 0.68 4.58 5.37 38 3,334
  TeamPosGoals / appsGoals Openplay / appsTotal Shot / appsTotal Cross / appsAppsMins
2012/13 Man United FW 0.68 0.53 3.71 4.71 38 3,123

Since those two phenomenal season though the striker has shown signs that age might be getting the best of him. In the 13/14 season under David Moyes, RVP struggled with injury and reports suggested he was discontent under the Scot's leadership. His all-round game suffered severely last season; with 12 goals in 18 appearances his goals/game ratio was down to 0.57 from 0.68 goals/game the season before. Van Persie was also taking less shots, almost one less in each game he played, his crosses/game had plummeted too, making less than half as many crosses under Moyes than he did under Sir Alex Ferguson.

  TeamPosGoals / appsGoals Openplay / appsTotal Shot / appsTotal Cross / appsAppsMins
2013/14 Man United FW 0.57 0.43 2.95 2.24 21 1,584

Many were expecting that Louis Van Gaal's appointment would reinvigorate Van Persie at United, but that just hasn't happened and if anything the number 20 has worsened this season. Frequently he looks lethargic and tired, and in games where United have desperately needed a goal or spark this season, Van Persie has been missing.

He has scored only two in six games meaning his goals/game ratio is at a new low of 0.33; He's also barely taking any shots this season registering just 1.67 each game. Crossing for the Dutchman must also be a thing of the past because in six league games this campaign he has only made three crosses, in which only one has been accurate. 

  TeamPosGoals / appsGoals Openplay / appsTotal Shot / appsTotal Cross / appsAppsMins
2014/15 Man United FW 0.33 0.33 1.67 0.50 6 496

With the influx of new signings that arrived at Old Trafford during the summer including world class Colombian Radamel Falcao, you may find that Van Persie is not as indispensable as he used to be. Also if you think that Van Gaal would not drop the man he named Holland's World Cup captain then think again. After the embarrassment of Euro 2012 the then Netherlands manager told Van Persie he was being dropped in favour of Klaas Jan Huntelaar.

With Rooney soon to be returning from his suspension and Juan Mata looking as though he's adjusted to Van Gaal's style, you would expect it would be Van Persie's place in the team that is called into question. If he doesn't pick his game up soon then you can be sure than the manager will put his personal friendship with the striker aside, and choose the players who fit best in his system.

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