With 29 goals in 28 games, Robin Van Persie has made his mark as a paragon of footballing excellence during 2011. Faintly echoing memories of compatriots Cruyff and Van Basten, the Dutch striker has not only aided the Gunners’ campaign, but presented himself as a bastion of hope for an otherwise dismayed and disillusioned fanbase.
Out of the darkness came light, and with the departure of Nasri, Fabregas and the behemoth of goalscoring prowess that is Nicklas Bendtner, Robin Van Persie has most definitely stepped up to the plate. The 2011/2012 season is his first without injury, unequivocally his most successful yet and has thereby allowed him to consistently showcase a worldclass talent that has taken an age to materialise. Now, with greater ambitions than a top-four finish, Van Persie’s role in galvanising the Arsenal squad has reached a whole new level. His talismanic status has been cemented during a tumultuous period in which loyalty to the club is everything, underpinning a new mantra that is encapsulated by the simple, but effective motto of ‘forward’.
…keep hold of such an influential player…
Arsene Wenger, therefore, will strive to keep hold of such an influential player, with the likelihood of Van Persie seeing out his career at the Emirates appearing increasingly promising. Thus, the once wayward Dutchman not only deserves to be named player of the year, but captain of the year, in a season that has ultimately highlighted his talents as a leader first and foremost. It is perhaps with a hint of irony, therefore, that Wenger once said the former Feyenoord man would never skipper the North London club.
Despite a crushing defeat in the Carling Cup to Birmingham and an 8-2 thrashing by Manchester United, Van Persie has given a silver lining to Arsenal’s 2011. Now, poised at fifth in the table, the onus is on the Gunners’ golden boy to make one final stand and relive the glory days that bestowed the title ‘Invincibles’ upon his team. Whether such fantasy will materialise still remains to be seen, yet it is not out of the realm of possibility for a player who is finding the best form of his life towards the twilight of his career. Irrespective of expectations and assumptions, however, one thing is most definitely clear – Robin Van Persie has a touch of class unparalleled in English football.
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