Robin Van Persie's Lack of Goals Is Not the Issue It's Being Presented as
Football is a fickle mistress.
Three years ago, Fernando Torres was touted as one of the greatest strikers that the Premier League had ever seen. Skip forward to present day, and the Spaniard has become the laughing stock of footballing forums across the country.
With the exception of a few special gems, fans have a natural inability to stick by a player through both the good and, more poignantly, the bad times.
Followers of Manchester United have, for the most part, bucked this trend throughout the years—often sticking by their players through thick and thin. The resilient nature exhibited by the Red Devils' supporters is something that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated by the majority of the footballing world.
As such, the recent hysteria concerning star striker Robin van Persie's lack of form has come almost entirely from those with no affiliation to the club. United fans are aware that players go through highs and lows in the course of a season, and after his world-class performances at the start of the year, a sudden dry spell is not enough to turn the United faithful away from their newest hero.
However, that hasn't stopped the masses hounding RVP for the past month-and-a-half. It's not often that a player who scores 23 goals and counting (in all competitions) in his debut season for a club gets lambasted by the press for his performances on the field, but somehow that's currently what we are witnessing.
So should there be any real concern about this spree of goalless games for the Dutchman? The simple answer is no.
Despite not actually being credited with a goal for the past string of matches (a fact that is in itself dubious, with Titus Bramble's own goal against Sunderland arguably being wrongly credited to the self-offending defender), RVP's efforts on the pitch have been crucial in some of United's league victories.
Is RVP's lack of goals a concern?
The primary objective of a striker is to score goals, but that isn't his sole purpose on the pitch. Van Persie's movement and build-up play make him a useful asset in any game—even if he is struggling to score.
Considering that RVP is billed as a centre-forward, his work ethic across the pitch is something that any central-minded attacking midfielder should take note of. On countless occasions in a game, you will witness van Persie dropping deep into the middle of the park to provide his teammates with an option.
Robin is prone to taking the odd shot too many, but for every time he makes the wrong decision, the striker makes up for it twofold with a selfless pass in a dangerous area. It's no surprise that he is United's second highest assister this season behind Wayne Rooney.
The key conclusion to take from this drama being whipped up by the media is that we are not experiencing some kind of drastic dip in form from RVP, just a dry spell in goals.
His performances have been as good as ever, and if that continues to be the case, it will be no time at all before he gets his name back onto the scoresheet once again. Van Persie is still the same player he ever was.
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