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Is RVP really as Van-tastic as last season suggests?

by Josh Powell | August 14, 2012

NOT GUNNER SIGN: RVP is set to leave the Emirates

By Josh Powell

Manchester United are the last club standing in what was once a battle to sign Robin Van Persie. Over at the Mirror, there’s a nice column on the ins-and-outs of the haggling between Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

RVP (29) has one year left with the Gunners but is he really as good as his incredible record-breaking season last year suggests or was it just one of those campaigns where everything fell right for a striker who can’t stay fit?

Here’s a run-down of the good and bad of RVP (stats first published on the Paddy Power Blog in July)


  • Scored 37 goals in 45 starts for Arsenal in the 2011/12 season.
  • The only striker to have scored in NINE consecutive Premier league away games.
  • Scored 18 goals from January 1 to the end of the season in 2011, a record for a Premier League striker.
  • Of all his attempts on goal last season 58% of them found the target.
  • Not just a goal threat, RVP played on average more than two key passes every game for his team-mates.
  • Has scored three hat-tricks in his Arsenal career, against Blackburn and Wigan at home, and last season away at Chelsea in the 5-3 thriller.
  • He will have been sad to see Blackburn relegated last season after scoring 13 times in 13 games against Rovers.
  • Of the clear-cut chances created for him last year he buried 68% of them. Clinical.
  • He was an influential leader last year picking up the man of the match award 13 times.
  • Has an 85% success rate from the spot in an Arsenal shirt.

MEGA-BUCKS: Adebayor lets Van Persie know how much he could be on at City

Bobbins Van Persie

  • He will be 29 at the start of August so is not exactly a spring chicken.
  • Only made 140 starts in his first six years at Arsenal due to injury. An average of a measly 23 games a season.
  • His discipline record is far from healthy getting booked in 51 games. On average the referee is noting down RVP every five games which is quite high for a striker.
  • He has been sent off four times in his eight years at Arsenal. In the same time at Manchester United Wayne Rooney has only seen red twice.
  • In the Premier League last season Van Persie only converted 21% of chances that were created for him.
  • Only Luis Suarez at Liverpool had more shots off target, 57 to 56.
  • Does the Dutchman struggle against the big teams? He’s faced the Manchester clubs on 24 occasions and only found the onion bag five times.
  • More selfish than most – Van Persie attempted on average 27 passes a game last season with a pass success rate of 78%. In comparison Rooney attempted 50 passes a game with an 80% success rate.
  • Last year RVP only won 28 of 95 aerial duels, so was beaten in the air 73% of the time.
  • He only made 20 tackles for Arsenal in the league last season but committed 30 fouls.

It is clear that as Van Persie approaches his 29th birthday he longs to fill up his trophy cabinet. Will his age and record of injuries put clubs off or will his record-breaking season last year cause a bidding war in the transfer market?

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