By Phil Gregory
Robin Van Persie‘s Holland took a beating from Germany to leave their Euro2012 hopes sorely weakened after two defeats in the group stages. Holland look to me like a team who are struggling with finding a role for certain players, and the lack of balance that brings. His performances for Arsenal show that Robin Van Persie thrives as a long front man, dropping off deep yet he finds Sneijder operating in those areas. The midfield features Van Bommel and De Jong, two midfield destroyers who aren’t the best on the ball so they are overly reliant on their forward line to create, which makes them somewhat predictable.
For Arsenal then, a Dutch exit would be disappointing for an effervescent Robin Van Persie, but a bit of extra rest for our talisman would certainly be welcome. The number of games he has played in the last eighteen months for Arsenal are virtually unprecedented; my concern is that this will lead to a fatigue-based injury problem somewhere down the line, fingers crossed I’m wrong.
Clearly, I’m writing on the presumption that Van Persie stays with us, and the contract situation is clearly still up in the air. Despite Wenger’s desire for it to be tied up before he jetted off for the Euros, this was never a realistic proposition, given the apparent lack of negotiations during the season. While frustrating for us fans, leaving negotiations to the end of the season does make sense. With so many crunch games, we really couldn’t afford a distracted Robin. An early Dutch exit may be beneficial if it results in a resolution of his contract situation sooner.
The Holland-Germany game also featured Arsenal new boy Lukas Podolski, but really there wasn’t much to remember from the German in this game. Germany were an efficient game: they were direct but without playing hoof ball, instead moving the ball well but with purpose. Their searching passes out wide in behind the Dutch fullbacks were particularly dangerous. I don’t think this is too big a deal – Podolski was up against an excellent fullback in Van Der Wiel, but I do look forward to seeing more of him in this tournament. Germany look very, very good and could well give Spain a run for their money in this tournament.
Niklas Bendtner was also on the score sheet twice in a game that the Danes lost. He is a player who I have always felt isn’t given the credit he deserves from the average football fan, but gives himself too much credit – he still is a young striker with plenty to prove if he has ambitions of being a top drawer player. It does appear his Arsenal career is drawing to an end and he’ll be off this summer for first team football. It’s a shame, as with a little patience he could well have been a valuable squad member for us, but a one striker system leaves little chance for rotation, especially when the main man is an on-fire (Van Persie). Realistically though, some of his antics whilst on loan have burned bridges for him in my view, and he’ll be off.
France’s Olivier Giroud looks likely to sign for the Arsenal, which surely means Chamakh will be leaving this summer, probably back to France and maybe even as part of the Giroud transfer (though his Bordeaux loyalty may get in the way of that possibility).
Published with permission from Untold Arsenal: Arsenal News. Supporting the Lord Wenger; coach of the decade.