Is Robin van Persie the best player in the Premier League right now?

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Where would we be without Robin van Persie this season, eh?

The captain was the dominant force against Sunderland, combining class and a devastating ability to find the back of the net to score both goals in a 2-1 win.

It begs the question: is there a better player in the Premier League at the moment?

Aside from the 23 goals he has scored in his last 27 starts, including five from eight already this season — an outstanding return for a team that has won so few games in that time — he has lead from the front and focused an otherwise scattered attacking unit.

On Sunday he received support from Theo Walcott and Gervinho, as well as Tomas Rosicky from the advanced midfield position, and by all accounts they functioned well in the opening half-hour.

I say “by all accounts” because a mix-up in the TV schedule saw me absent-mindedly muddle through the last half-hour of West Brom’s 2-0 win over Wolves rather than flick over to the team I know and love.

The score of 1-0 made me happy and the commentators spoke of Arsenal domination, but that soon changed. Old boy Sebastian Larsson, one of the real good guys in the Premier League, netted a superb free-kick.

That there will be probably not be a better-taken free-kick this season — van Persie’s winner included — will be no consolation to Wojciech Szczesny, who despite his superb form between the sticks this season, has looked weak against the dead ball.

At 1-1 whatever confidence the commentary team had remarked that we owned had been sold to the Northen side. They threatened twice more and we looked precariously-placed at the break.

There was a lot of huffing and puffing that followed but precious little quality. Our team still looks like a collection of players rather than an actual team, a worrying sight for a club that puts as much emphasis on cohesion and understanding as Arsenal do.

The sight of Rosicky playing at pace was refreshing, as was Carl Jenkinson’s old-school dash-and-cross routine that is becoming his trademark. Per Mertesacker was assured, Alex Song was dominant but aside from a couple of half-chances their admirable defensive work appeared to be for nought.

Until van Persie did his thing, of course.

It’s been a while since the captain has delivered from a free-kick and in that sense, he owed us one. The relief was palpable in the stadium (and in my chest) when it hit the back of the net but the three points that followed is just what we need.

I woke up the following day to watch some decent highlights of the opening half-hour and only then did I see van Persie’s outrageous Bergkamp impersonation.

Thanks for that, Robin. Keep it up.

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39 thoughts on “Is Robin van Persie the best player in the Premier League right now?

  1. @Andy,

    Funnily enough, I did exactly the same thing regarding the kickoff time. It was merely due to flicking through Twitter updates that I discovered that Arsenal had already : A) kicked off and B) scored.

    Damn you Fox Sports!

  2. Rvp happens to be a player i admirers n respect so much, left to me i’d say he’s the best in the world cron n messi aside, he’s in a form that only those two player mentioned above are capable of beating his record.. Injury aside, he’s the best in the league. Arsenal my life.. Vitoria concordia cresent(victory at all cost)

  3. @ KC – Yeah, Silva’s in hot form, no doubt. I guess I haven’t watched enough of the other sides to really know for sure, that’s why I asked. From an Arsenal perspective though we’d be pretty buggered if it wasn’t for him.

  4. Year after year, season after season and game after game, RVP keeps getting better, even when injury hits, he comes back with form as if he never had one. RVP is a player of class, quality and character. I wish there were three more of your type at Arsenal, we would have been unstoppable.

  5. I think RVP is da best in the world,lets hope he wil avoid injury this season to be a top scorer.

  6. I agree with you guys. RvP is right up there and has been for while. He`s injury free ATM and we`re seeing his worth, but why did he remove his shirt after his 2nd score?

    He`s our skipper and should have held his emotions in check. Everyone knows it`s an instant yellow. Arsenal can`t afford flippancy at present and It`s not the example he should be leading by.

  7. Morning Drew,morning all,
    Robin is very good right now excellent really, but I’m not sure lionizing him as the best player in the EPL is where it’s at for me. Drew, I think your comment about our looking like a collection of players is much more to the point.
    The Arsenal style of play does depend on cohesion. The kind of which we have shown but precious little of this season so far.We all know Robin’s history. he will be great for awhile but he may also be out for awhile. The best way to prepare for this is for the team to start playing like…a team. Until then though it’s good to see a lot of huffing and puffing. There was altogether too much walking back head down last season and I think the new additions and the youngsters are leading the way in the effort department. They WANT the shirt and the fans affections and they’re doing their darndest to earn it even if it looks dis-jointed at times. Good works lads and keep it up.On to the South of France.
    @weedz I think rvp did it as a sign of defiance, The team has been shakey and sometimes you take that chance to get the fire lit. He knew the yellow had to come but if it pumps the squad up for all 3 it’s worth the booking. Had we lost the lead though, it would have come off looking foolish and rash.
    BTW: I here Gibbsy is out for the CL clash. It would be good to see both Santos and Park get some play. They’re quality and need the chance to show it.

  8. Victoria Concordia Crescit is Victory grows from harmony. Roots of English “concord” and “crescendo”. We hope to see more growth in harmony as the squad continues to come together. 100% agree we would be in bad shape without our current captain, but am very pleased with all of our new signings, but where is Park? See harmony coming from the following: Gervinho is learning that he can’t beat 2 guys like he did in France and lay the ball off. Arteta fits better every game, even playing deeper than he did for Toffees. Per is huge in the air and working better with Kosc or Song in back. Santos shows typical Brazilian calm and already crosses better than GC 22. Yossi, Yossi, oy,oy,oy still has great work rate he always had for Scouse and will fit better with time. Among the holdovers, TR 7 and AA 23 looked superb on Sunday, neither getting any younger, though, and honestly believe Czszesny will be better than Seaman; he’s only 21!
    CF 4 was out half of last year, so we already were missing him. As for £SN 8, he didn’t really step as he might have in the 2nd half and we couldn’t match Man$hity so good riddance to him. I’m a 40+ year supporter so there’s a lot of hope involved, but I really believe this team can be better than last year’s which we all know was really not that good despite 4th place CL finish. Victoria Concordia Crescit indeed!

  9. @Leftcoast and @JJ: top posts as usuall. Silva, Schmilva.

    For me, it’s all about consistency, and for the most mercurial of positions (striker) to have that level of performance and production match after match – that is what makes van Persie definitely one of the top 7-8 players in the world right now.

    I don’t want jinx anything by referring to injuries, so let’s not go there. He WILL stay healthy this year, he WILL continue this remarkable form, and he WILL win the Golden Boot, right? Who’s with me?

    Last Sunday, he was practically unplayable for big parts of the game. Although physically he’s the total opposite, he reminded me of Drogba in his prime, in that he was a consummate predator in that match. He totally intimidated with his presence anywhere in or near the area.

    If supporting these Arsenal sides of the last few years has taught me anything, it’s the truth of that hoary old cliche – one…game…at…a…time. Just enjoy it folks, when you can.

    Finally my condolences to Andrew and and his fellow Aussies on the demise of the Wallablies at the hands of the All-Blacks in this year’s Rugby WC semi-final, Congratulations to any and all Kiwi Gooners, should be a great final vs. France.


  10. @1NTTA
    Finger crossed RVP will stay fit. As far as the All Blacks who hasn’t met their demise at those guy’s hands. Those dudes are so fearsome personally I’d be frightened to suit up against them. When they do that Maori dance and stick out their toungues on their huge chest and glare..Youch! it scares my TV. Do the French have a chance or will the terrors of the southern hemisphere dismember them or perhaps just devour them whole?

  11. Every time Arsene wenger opens his mouth he makes me sick if he really said what the papers quote him as saying to french TV then GOD help him, MANC are a better team than Arsenal by miles and they pay better. Interestingly wenger only speaks when we win but if we loose he goes into hiding.
    Anyways we got 3 points, not convincingly at all BUT that’s besides the point, still i feel with better opposition were in trouble this weekend and next week will shed some light on our current situation because the chelsea game will be round 10 when i think it would be fair to pass judgment on where we finish

    On the Vanpersie being the best in the league i don’t know about that, he went missing mostly against spurs wen we need him to step up, it’s one thing scoring against average teams and lest face it Bolton and sunderland are rubbish at the moment, their places in the table should tell us that, so while a goal is a goal when the opposition is better i think we have a better judge of ones skills, lets see how he does this weekend and moreso next week against top class defenders.
    Champions league game today lest get some momentum we’ll need it

  12. @Leftcoast, we have Marseilles in Champions League, so given our circumstances and all due respect to Le Boss, I CANNOT root for France. Today’s games are about to start. Any thoughts on tomorrow?

  13. Every time Arsene wenger opens his mouth he makes me sick if he really said what the papers quote him as saying to french TV then GOD help him, MANC are a better team than Arsenal by miles and they pay better. Interestingly wenger only speaks when we win but if we loose he goes into hiding.
    Anyways we got 3 points, not convincingly at all BUT that’s besides the point, still i feel with better opposition were in trouble this weekend and next week will shed some light on our current situation because the chelsea game will be round 10 when i think it would be fair to pass judgment on where we finish

    On the Vanpersie being the best in the league i don’t know about that, he went missing mostly against spurs wen we need him to step up, it’s one thing scoring against average teams and lest face it Bolton and sunderland are rubbish at the moment, their places in the table should tell us that, so while a goal is a goal when the opposition is better i think we have a better judge of ones skills, lets see how he does this weekend and moreso next week against top class defenders.
    Champions league game today lest get some momentum we’ll need it

  14. @1NTTA
    Well it would be nice to win but I will take a draw. That puts the pressure on us to win at home but pressure has to be dealt with someplace or the other.
    I’ve heard it on this post and at Goonerholic also that Marseilles is not a very good team.
    However I would not rate Blackburn too highly or Swansea who we beat one nil and the game was closer than the score.
    I guess it’s like this; we have some of the makings of a good team but it is a fragile work in progress. Still if we play as hard as we did versus Dortmund wee could very well get three points and lead the group.
    @Kel He’s by no means perfect dude and some of his strengths and weaknesses come from the same traits, His stubborness (or steadfastness) and idealism (or arrogance) but for the time being his hand is on the tiller so let’s hope he steers a little closer to the wind and gets us there. I mean what else CAN we do?
    I know what you’re thinking but that’s mutiny Mr.Christian mutiny.

  15. @Andy, Gruggy et al That explains it – I set the record button as didn’t fancy a late night/early morning whatever and needless to say when I sat down to watch it the game was nearly 30 mins into it and Larsson was just about to take that free kick (which was just as good as RVP’s in my opinion).

    As to the question about RVP – well he is our best player by a county mile, but for me right now I would probably put Rethatched Grannyshagger at the top of my list with Silva and RVP next. And the way Aguero has started he will be pushing them close.

    Looking forward to the Marseilles game – kick off at a quite reasonable 5.45 am for us eastern Aussies.

    Then it’s Stoke at the Emirates. That’s always fun. Surely our Big Friendly Giant at the back can deal with those insane Delap throws…

  16. It is as amazing and as ridiculous as anything i’ve ever been part of that we have Park, Miyaichi, Chamberlain and cannot play them all in front with RVP. What is the use of the midfield when you have strikers? If the forwards are not performing, then everyone starts noticing the defense. The forwards are excused for their mistakes, but the defense? We keep on blaming the defense, but is the attack doing its job? How is the midfield linking up with the attack? This is my problem.
    What if RVP never scored the free kick? We could have had 2 midfielders and ensured the wing backs/forwards constantly run up and down the flanks, thus loading the front line with speed (Miyaichi/Gervinho, Chamberlain/Walcott) and precision(RVP/Park/Arshavin). What is the use of having speedy substitutes? What is the use of playing a possesion game when you are not in front by atleast 2 goals? Why is our game not direct anymore? We should play like we are looking for goals at all times. Why dont we USE ARSHAVIN/ARTETA/ROSICKY as a playmaker behind the striker as Chelsea do JUAN MATA? So, what if we bought him? Would we have thrown him in the wings to thwart his usefulness? I’m very sure this is what he would have done. Are you guys sure we are playing fully to our strengths? These are the major issues with this team. Last year the league was begging us to take it, but we toyed with it cos the manager refused to be decisive. This year things just changed and he has found out he WILL never cope with the present set-up. I hate seeing good effective players on the bench for more than a week, especially strikers.
    If he thinks Gervinho is TIRED, then let him substitute him at half time. If the substituted striker cannot perform as well by the next game, then substitute him with another striker until we get the kind of performance we need. Walcott no more blazes past players(its not even about the skill, is he even trying enough?). I dont care what people think, but we can get a lot more out of this lot than we are seeing, but it is up to the manager. I told someone that if Diaby is fit, he WILL walk right back into the mix. Why does Wenger not rotate Coquelin and Frimpong as he used to do with FABS and FLAMINI alongside VIERA? SONG is the preferred here. Let Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky start looking over their shoulders….this can only motivate them to put in their best when they come on.
    We have only three substitutes, i wouldn’t mind replacing Gervinho and Walcott for every game. We need Miyaichi and Chamberlain to start striking for that first team spot. If we are two goals up in any game, then he could either replace RVP with Park or make them play together to try and improve our goal difference (I heard Park has a 35% free kick conversion rate). Rotating the squad is what we definitely NEED right now……if we feel we do not have the players, we should think again.

  17. @Job
    Both teams have started poorly in their respective domestic leagues and at this stage don’t look likely win them or to qualify for CL play next year. So my question is does this mean we as Arsenal supporters are more optimistic or delude? Or are Marseille supporters more pessimistic or realistc. And perhaps more importantly how large is the sampled group?

  18. Crap game, great result.

    @Gunnerboss – I agree with a lot of your post. I suspect that Wenget is trying to play it a bit more conservatively for now – after the start we have had, things needed to be tightened up. For example, Arteta seems to have been given instructions to stay deep. But I agree that the attackers need to look at themselves. Arshavin again looked off the game out wide on the left, and I think he is wasted there. I too would like to see him play more centrally just behind PVP. Walcott was utter garbage. How many aimless crosses did he put over that the defence cut out easily? I think he put one decent cross over all game that VP should have done better with (but I think he was offside). There was another occasion when he put the ball behind the fulback and outpaced him, and instead of looking up and taking the ball into a more dangerous position he just hit a first time nothing ball in and the attack broke down. Missed a sitter too. Personally I don’t think he deserves to start and I would be giving OxC a run instead.

    On the plus side I thought the defence looked pretty comfortable and we kept a clean sheet. Marseilles were crap though.

  19. @1NTTA
    Hey one-nil,
    Are you checking out the Jets/Loafs game?
    3 all 11 minutes to go third period.
    It sure good to see the NHL get back to Winnepeg,
    It’s a real hockey town and deserves a franchise.

  20. Leftcoastgooner «» where on earth do you stay?,I thought you probably stay in somewhere in australiasia becoz of your rugby awareness or £ becoz of arsenal or in yankee land $ of american sports,no disrespect to the yankees becoz I try watchin the baseball and afootball on espn but it crap american football can’t even come close to rugby enjoyment, everytime time out or reset damn only nice thing about it,that school football jacket with the. A-zletter on it,anyway that’s why those sports don’t make a real impact outside of the west.

  21. Arsenal 1-nil@ marseille stadium,nervous moments especially with song n santos get uellow cards early and the how performance after that,I was surprise that deschamps took out remy n lucho who were the danger men for marsielle and put out of form gicnac, but take nothing away from arsenal it a win and not just a win but a drought that came to an end,not winning away in ecl for a long time n keeping a clean sheet.

  22. @Terry – we all seem to know what is wrong with the team cos we really want to be unbeaten and win things. But, the manager seems to have a different agenda altogether. I dont understand why Walcott keeps starting. I will NEVER BLAME Arshavin, but WHY DO WE HAVE PLAYERS LIKE OXC AND MIYAICHI?

  23. @Flying Dutchmen
    Dutch I’m a transplanted New Englander (Maine) who has lived in California for 30 some odd years. When I got out of the service I stayed out west. I started listening(as on radio) to English football back in the 60’s on short wave and CBC one of the advantages to living on the Canadian border. I ran track in college and my roomate was a steeple chaser from Cristchurch,NZ. and he turned my on to some good stuff like The Goon Show and the All Blacks. Being of immigrant stock I never was too xenophopic and learned early in life that all cultures have interesting things to offer.
    Except the Stoke City Potters they are miscreants and must be surpressed.

  24. Great results from a stagnant game,creativity seems to be the problem at the moment,i agree with most gunners,theo was his usual self,nonexistent,kos was the boss on the pitch IMO,won everything that came his way,and the partnership with mert4 is looking quite positive,wenger must be scratching his head at how to fit TV5 in the team once he gets fit, and yeah,i would like arshavin to play centrally for a change,maybe thats the best play place to play him and not on the wings,and talking of central midfielders,whatever happened to the enigmatic mr abou diaby? I know he is not a lot of ppls cup o´tea,but on his day,he he can open up opponents with ease.maybe i´ll see him in the carling cup next week Jenkinson didn´t look out of place at all in the game,love how he burst forward and back on that right side,would love to see ryo and the ox for once play together,i´m sure i´m not the only 1,no matter how we played we won,and thats what counts,now on to stoke and their bullies,i´m sure we´ll have a few bullies on our side, waiting for them this time.

  25. Andy,
    Theres nothing wrong with your statement about Van Persie in my opinion, the best players of 2011 have been RvP, Chicorito, Silva, Van D vaart and Vidic, in terms of what they contributed to their team I think its obvious…..but that was his first converted free kick since 19 dickety two, and quality though it was, we should be seeing set piece goals on a regular basis…..we must be the team that gets the most corners, yet never score from them, or threaten, as the marseille game highlighted again last night. Walcott had the job of standing on their keeper, yet he was allowed come and claim almost every time….DO YOUR JOB THEO.
    Just to mention Scheznys save from the point blank header v sunderland at 1-1. This deserves as much recognition as Van Persies free, its not like most point blank saves where the ball hits the keeper, this guy anticipates the attackers exocution and dives to save…Seaman like vs Sheff utd years ago, its a sign of absolute quality and is what I was banging on about for years when we were playing Almunia and Fabianski, hes a match winner and for me is up there with RvP for our best player so far.
    The Marseille game was a great result, although I couldnt get over their tactics, being the home team they seemed to give us the respect of the Arsenal of 2004 rather than the current crop which was a major error from Deschamps, he obviously thought that a draw and 7 points from the first 3 games would be a good return….and he would have got that only for Wenger finally came to his senses and hauled off the ridiculous Arshavin, its insulting for fans tohave to watch this guy and he must be sold in January, poor form I can excuse, no problem, but his lack of teamwork and attitude when we dont have the ball is appauling and an obvious weakness for better teams to exploit, Iv always said our defense wasnt as bad as everyone says, sure individually some of them arent great but Iv always felt the lack of protection from Walcott, Nasri and Arshavin was to blame for the pressure put on Sagna and Clichy, it was only an outstanding performance from da Silva last night that we wernt over run down the left. I dont care what anyone says about Arshavin to the contrary he has to go, when his touch goes away and an opponent intercepts and he half-heartedly slides to win it back he lays on the ground feeling sorry for himself while our defense copes with an overlap, compare this to the desire shown by Rosicky first half to get back and win possesion after hed lost it, when he doesnt have the ball hes static, easily marked, its an insult to the younger players and its blocking their progress and its bad for morale, how did Walcott, as terrible as his final ball was, feel last night being subbed BEFORE this guy???
    Anyway the great thing was reward for the travelling fans who clearly enjoyed it. There were solid performances from Koscielny, Jenkinson and Silva, whilst Ramsey and the impressive Gervinho changed the game once we didnt have Arshavin giving the ball away everytime he got it or letting it roll under his foot. But the best player on the field by a mile was Rosicky, as Andy alluded to in his Sunderland report, hes refreshing and invigorating the team with his jinking and injection of pace in midfield, I just hope he can keep his place and stay fit because he has the quality to make a difference.
    Great that Tommy V signed a new contract aswel, great boost.

  26. @Shambogunner

    “this guy anticipates the attackers exocution and dives to save…Seaman like vs Sheff utd years ago, its a sign of absolute quality”
    Spot on. Brilliant observation and analogy!

  27. @leftcoast,
    what do you make of dos santos, or as i like to call him, for some inexplicable reason, silva…..i think he could be a really good player for us he has a great engine, Valbuenas no slouch but he got nothing off our boy!

  28. Andre has score 27 goals over the past 4 seasons from the left back position almost unheard of really.
    When he started the WC for Brasil in Germany (2oo6) He was a more reckless player prefering to go forward and at times neglecting his defensive responsibilties.It is somewhat understandable when you have the burden of replacing Roberto Carlos but time and I think 4 years under the strict hand of Dunga seems to have cured him of his youthful rashness.
    The EPL though will be his hardest challenge. Week in and out he will have to play at the same level as in the national side and do international duty as well. So although the ability is there, consistency and the ability to adapt to England, (something not all Brasilieros have done Robinho,Denilson for example) the English game and his new teamates will be the key. Fingers crossed.

  29. @leftcoast,

    jenks and dos santos are two ‘caution to the wind, marauding, swash-buckling’ fullbacks….at least they have a go and thats what we need right now. we need every one giving an honest effort but if players like Arshavin are allowed to lower the standard in this respect we wont improve, i dont think we are far away from going on a 6or7 game run f

  30. Some great posts and its refreshing to see some optimism mixed in with a dose of realism. I must admit I have not made up my mind about Santos. He did a few sloppy passes but he also dod some good things. I think I prefer him to Clichy. If and it’s a big if, the BFG and Kos form a decent partnership then TV could be an alternative left back option. Does he have the speed though? Considering Jenkinson has ben well and truly thorwn in at the deep end I think he’s doing alright on the other flank- and he’s a better crosser than Walcott. We jsut need to commit more players into the box when he does.
    One advantage we have this weekend is an extra day between our european game than stoke – who I imagine fielded a ful strength team in their europa league game. And I agree with Shambo about our keeper. I reckon he is the best young keeper around. I’d have him over Hart and de Gea any day. That save against Sunderland was sensational. I still can’t believe they guy didn’t score and it was no fluke either. Also agree about Rosicky – he is playing better each game – hope that continues as he is the best swap for Nasri that we could get without buying.

  31. Szczesny makes the team feel the last line of defense is assured/secured and that they should worry about themselves instead. This amounts to an unquantifiable confidence boost for the players. The more assured they are, the less panicky they will be…..the team improves as a result. RVP on the other hand makes the team feel assured in the attack….
    Song is the only other player for now that keeps on performing at very high levels day in day out…his contributions are immense(without Song, we might have lost the last two games).
    Problem here is how does the midfield protect the back and how does the midfield support the attack?
    Rosicky has also done very well in the last two games only it must be said. I was very impressed with him.
    We could have done more against Marseille, but it was nice to see the ball get in though. Against less technical teams like stoke, speed up front could be a very effective weapon. I would love to see a game soon where the opposition is taken out with atleast three goals scored in the first half. We NEED this now.

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