Dimitar Berbatov and Robin Van Persie: A Tale Of Two Premier League Strikers
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Both the men in question have never been doubted for their ability, yet neither has made ranks among Europe's elite front men in recent years. It is in a sense ironic that as both Robin Van Persie and Dimitar Berbatov come to the fore, their more feared comparables, chiefly Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, appear to have dipped backwards.
Although hat-tricks against lesser opponents, in the comfort of your own fans can often be scoffed at, for Arsenal and Manchester United, they remain of the utmost importance given their circumstances.
While last season every devil would have picked Wayne Rooney, this season it is the Bulgarian who appears to have won over the faithful, as his partner continues to toil in front of goal. At the Emirates, despite Maroune Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtnar being regularly available, the Gunners are all too aware that realistic title ambitions are only plausible through their Dutchman remaining in rude health.
Van Persie's ailments have always been exterior. Never has he appeared shy on confidence, nor has he ever looked absent when asked to lead the line, as tall, athletic strikers are often charged to do.
Moreover, he possesses a certain tenacity and ruthlessness often found wanting among Arsenal forwards. Not through a lack of ideas, but perhaps too many.
On the flip side, it would appear that Berbatov could never be injured. His relaxed, tension-free approach does not appear to lend itself to stress on the body. However, upstairs in the dark recesses of the mind, where many forwards lose purpose, he may once have been considered fragile.
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However, the remainder of the season could prove to be the toughest examination of their frailties. The English game seems relentless in the demands it places on the body, while the most open title race in a year is sure to test even the strongest of mindsets.
As their sides emerge as the main contenders for May's prize, this season could be the one where both sets of fans have their answers.
In every game, he is fit and scoring, worth every game that he is sidelined? By how many millions was a fee of £30 million too many?
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