Robin van Persie Is the Premier League's Most Valuable Asset

Simon EdmondsCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford on December 15, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Since the arrival of Robin van Persie at Old Trafford this August, Manchester United's offensive prowess has transformed into an unstoppable force that makes goalscoring look like child's play.

So far this year, United have already netted a whopping 43 goals in just 17 Premier League matches, with the Dutch forward bagging no less than 12 of these. This kind of form has seen RVP rise to the top of the league's goalscoring charts once again, sitting level with Swansea's Miguel Michu.

Not only has van Persie's clinical finishing been a marvel to behold this year, but his link-up play with fellow world-class striker Wayne Rooney has been a true spectacle to behold. This partnership has been the driving factor in the Tablecloth Army's rise to the top of the BPL during the first half of the season.

As well as this, van Persie currently sits joint fourth in the assists table, with five pieces of sublime buildup play to his name. Encouragingly for United fans, Rooney tops the list with seven.

If all that wasn't enough to emphasise exactly how much of a talent RVP truly is, then get your head around this factoid: If you took away all the goals that van Persie has scored so far for Manchester United in the BPL, then the Red Devils would be languishing down in 17th place.

There were doubters over the summer who suggested that signing the ageing and somewhat injury-prone Arsenal forward ran the same risk as the farcical acquisition of Fernando Torres by Chelsea. However, since day one, those fears have been laid to rest, and the man who was voted last season's PFA player of the year looks on course to win the award in back-to-back campaigns if this rich vein of form continues.

Last season, van Persie showed the immense talent he is by playing a massive role in ensuring Champions League football for the Gunners.

Some have labelled his exploits last season as a "one-man show", and certainly there are strong arguments to support this case. 

Of course it would be totally wrong to suggest that van Persie was the only reason that Arsenal managed to turn their lacklustre season around and eventually pip their bitter rivals, the Spurs, to that final spot in the UCL. Other plays like Alex Song and Bacary Sagna also had a huge part to play in their success, with the team really getting behind their star players and performing to the best of their god-given abilities.

But what cannot be disputed is how much of an arrowhead RVP was for Arsene Wenger's side. On paper, the Gunners team that finished third last season should have in reality been nowhere near that high in the table. Both Spur's and Chelsea's squads far exceeded the individual talent that the men from the Emirates had to offer.

However, thanks in no small part to the performances of their captain RVP, Arsenal were able to scrap their way into the group stages of the Champions League, and they have once again continued their impressive record of making it into the last 16 of the competition.

Coming back to United and this season, van Persie may be that little extra something that Fergie and company were desperately missing last year. If his performances with Arsenal and United so far in his career are anything to go by, then RVP may just be the deciding factor in this year's Premier League title race.

Already his goals have helped United to a hearty six-point lead over closest rivals Manchester City, and if he and Rooney can continue to flourish together, the sky is the limit for United and for RVP.

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