A quick focus on Robin van Persie and his top 10 football attributes

Born on the 6th of August 1983 in the Dutch City of Rotterdam, Robin van Persie began his youth career in Exclesior before making a move to the club that gave him his football education, Feyernoord. In his three-year stint in Feyernoord’s first team from 2001 to 2004, van Persie won the UEFA Cup with the Dutch outfit but he had a lot of irreconcilable differences with the manager and present Dutch coach, Bert van Marwijk.

He won the best young talent of the EreDivisie award in 2002 and had a tumultuous time in the tail end of his Feyernoord career. After making 59 appearances and scoring 15 league goals in three years at the club, van Persie parted ways with Feyernoord and joined Arsenal as a long-term replacement for the great Dennis Bergkamp.

In Arsenal, Robin van Persie made his debut against Manchester United in the Community Shield of 2004 and has been a loyal servant to the club ever since. Van Persie has had the pleasure of playing beside excellent forwards like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp but the early seasons of his Arsenal career has been blighted by injuries.

With the exit of his predecessors, van Persie has stepped up the plate to become the most important player in Arsenal Football Club and he has currently amassed a total 108 goals in just 248 appearances for the club with 77 of those goals scored in the Premier League.

On the international scene, van Persie has represented the Netherlands on four different levels and he’s currently an essential piece of the Oranje’s jigsaw puzzle. It’s really funny to know that its the same Bert van Marwijk that’s the present  manager of the Netherlands but they’ve put their differences aside for the good of the game.

The Flying Dutchman has also been recognized for his football exploits with the EreDivisie Best Young Talent award (2002), Rotterdam Sportsman of the Year (2006), Euro 2008 Bronze Boot and Arsenal Player of the Season (2009). He has also won the Barclay’s Player of the Month on three occasions, Arsenal Top Goal scorer on three occasions and Arsenal Goal of the season for that brilliant strike against Barcelona on the 16th of February 2011.

Goal of the Season

The goal was also Gooner Daily’s Goal of the Season in the 2010/11 Season Awards written by yours truly. :D

Robin van Persie is a player that’s abundantly blessed with bags of ability but I’ll like to give my top 10 football attributes that striker possesses:

Amazing Finishing Ability

If you check a dictionary for the meaning of the word “van Persie”, the definition would be “a perpetual goal scoring machine of the first kind”.  Robin van Persie has been on fire in 2011 and he has currently smashed in 34 goals in 38 appearances for Arsenal this calendar year.

He’s a striker that can be relied upon to hit the back of the net and he has assumed his captaincy role at Arsenal in the best possible manner leading by example with 13 goals already this season.

Gifted Technique

There are only a handful of forwards that can do what van Persie does with the ball. Van Persie’s close control with the ball is amazing and he’s a live-wire with the ball at his feet.

It’s also fair to say that van Persie is a core member of the League of Extraordinary Technically-Gifted Strikers that’s headed by Zlatan Ibracadabra. Dimitar Berbatov is still the Vice President though; the Bulgarian can bring any ball under control, even if the ball was launched from orbit by an astronaut in space.

Powerful Shooting Range

Robin van Persie is not the kind of a striker you would want to give half a chance at your goal because you’ll be very sorry. His left foot has venom that’s very potent and he’s equally adept using his right chocolate leg.

He has also added headers to his game and this has made him one of the most complete forwards in the business.

Sleek Dribbling Skills

Robin van Persie is one of the most unpredictable players to come against. The way he twists and turns with the ball on his feet gives defenders eye-turning moments.

Van Persie ability to get past his man is a weapon he uses to great effect and the best defenders in the business can attest to His Royal van Persiness. Even a rock-solid center back like Wes Brown showed van Persie his ‘number’ when Sunderland visited the Emirates recently.

Set Piece Taking Ability

When Arsenal wins a corner kick on the right side of the opponent’s goal-line, there’s a certain player than can always be relied upon to provide in-swingers that goes to the heart of the opposition’s defense line. As for free kicks, van Persie’s touch of the ball is always a stroke of genius and the goals resulted from his dead ball situations are always regarded as masterpieces.

When Arsenal faced Wigan in the Carling Cup semis of 2006, the goalie was rooted to the spot when van Persie swung it in from the right hand side. Premier League goalies like Tim Howard, Craig Gordon, Ben Foster et al have been on the end of RVP surface to goal curling missiles and the outcome has always been the same.

Sunderland’s Mignolet was the latest installment in the van Persie free kick chronicles. :D

Deft First Touch

Van Persie’s first touch is a key attribute that he uses well to get on the end of somewhat difficult passes from his teammates at times. There are times when van Persie treats the football like a pet especially when he wants to put it in a position to pull the trigger.

Flamboyancy

Van Persie can be regarded as one of the forwards in the football world that adds flamboyancy to his play. Another forward that’s synonymous with this attribute is Antonio Cassano.

Good Passing Range

Van Persie is a selfless striker that has an eye for a pass and even if he’s renowned primarily for his goals, he sure knows when to give an assist for a teammate.

In Arsenal’s last game against West Brom, his drilled effort into the box was dispatched with consummate ease by Thomas Vermaelen while his carefully guided pass to Mikel Arteta was finished aplomb to hand the midfielder his first goal at the Emirates.

Composure

You can’t wake up in the morning and have 34 goals in 38 games if you don’t have a bit of composure when faced with the adversity of the playing against opposition defenders and the towering goalkeeper.

Even after that infamous slip by John Terry, van Persie still had to move a distance with the ball before facing the Rugby Helmet wearer in goal but he still had the composure to dribble him before planting the ball to an unguarded net. A confidence bereft striker like Marouane Chamakh would have been odds-on to miss that glaring chance.

Versatility

Robin van Persie started his football education in Feyernoord as a left winger but he was deployed as a supporting striker by Arsene Wenger shortly after his move to North London. Touted as the long-term replacement for Dennis Bergkamp, the Flying Dutchman thrived well in this role behind Thierry Henry and was one of the primary reasons (with Eduardo) why Emmanuel Greedybayor flourished in the 2007/08 season with 30 goals to his name.

With the exit of all these players and the new 4-2-3-1 formation deployed by Wenger in the start of the 2009/10 season, van Persie has been primarily deployed as the center forward and Arsene Wenger has richly rewarded for that action.

In the Dutch national team, Klass-Jan Huntelaar is the main center forward used so van Persie is given a free role in the team even though he drifts a bit to the right wing though. If that’s not versatility then I don’t know what the word means.

Summary

Van Persie has really matured from the hothead of Rotterdam to the exemplary leader of the Emirates. Arsenal has lost great footballers over the years for more reasons than one; Patrick Vieira paid his dues and left in search of Champions League glory, age caught up with Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, David Seaman et al while Cesc Fabregas left to play for the club after his heart.

The striker’s contract expires in 2013 and we all believe that contract extension talks are ongoing to keep Arsenal’s most prized asset for years to come.

Here’s to Robin van Persie.

An Arsenal legend in the making and as I posted a few days back,

Forget Cesc Batman, we’ve got Robin. :D

Sayonara.

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