Why Robin van Persie can help Man United dismantle Hull City
One of the big problems David Moyes and Manchester United have suffered during their heavily embarrassing attempt to retain their Premier League title has been the fluctuating fitness levels of Robin Van Persie.
The Red Devils have, in fact, only been able to call upon the Dutch striker for just 19 appearances in the league so far this season.
Van Persie’s goals have often been described as the reason as to why United won the title last season as a poor United side cruised to the summit of the table, despite the obvious deficiencies of their squad that have been exposed this time around.
The Dutchman was renowned for his fitness issues during his time at Arsenal that made some question as to why Sir Alex Ferguson was so keen to bring him to Old Trafford, but after remaining fit for the 2012/13 season, he scored 35 goals in all competitions to finally get his hands on the Premier League trophy.
This season has reverted back to type for Van Persie however, as he has been dogged by persistent injuries that have seen him drop in and out of the squad, culminating in his knee sprain he suffered as a reward for pulling Man United from the brink of Champions League humiliation.
With United trailing 2-0 from the first leg against Olympiakos, Van Persie scored a hat-trick to allow United to overturn the deficit, but then suffered an injury that prevented him being able to line up against Bayern Munich, while United’s season crumbled domestically as well, to culminate in the sacking of David Moyes.
With Ryan Giggs now in charge and Wayne Rooney struggling with a groin problem currently, it is fortunate for the Weshman that Van Persie has returned to fitness on schedule, especially given how ineffective Javier Hernandez proved to be in the home defeat to Sunderland at the weekend.
Despite having been reduced to just 17 starts in the Premier League and having completed 90 minutes on just ten occasions, Van Persie still has 11 Premier League goals to his name, scoring at a rate of 0.67 goals per 90 minutes of action.
Those goals come at a conversion rate of 25.6%, better than the likes of Luis Suarez, suggesting that United’s season could have been far more fruitful had the Dutchman managed to maintain his fitness throughout, and potentially have clawed their way into the top four.
Van Persie has also managed to claim three assists for the campaign as well from the 16 chances he has created for teammates despite being far more comfortable as the man in front of goal and there have been tell-tale signs that he finally has the creator behind him to bring out the best in him.
The introduction of Juan Mata into the United team has already shown signs of fruition as Van Persie went on a run of four goals in five games after the Spaniard was signed from Chelsea in January, and with Rooney out of the side, the duo can form their partnership again, with both playing in their preferred position.
With Van Persie up top and Mata playing in the hole behind him, United could be looking at the ultimate partnership that fire could them on to an improved performance in the Premier League next season, ahead of a rejuvenated side most likely under the stewardship of Louis Van Gaal.
First up, however, the duo have the opportunity to cement that status as they take on Hull City and a return to fitness for Van Persie could provide the perfect tonic to get United back into contention to perhaps snare that final Europa League place from Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season.