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Analyzing the Career of Robin van Persie in England

After three seasons, 105 games, 58 goals and one league title at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s Dutch striker Robin van Persie is set to sign for Turkish side Fenerbahce. With a total of 11 years of English football under his belt, just how much of a success was Robin van Persie’s time in the Premier League?

Van Persie began his career in the Premier League in 2004 when he signed for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal from Feyenoord. After making his debut as a substitute in a 3-1 Community Shield win over Manchester United, van Persie spent most of the early parts of the 2004/05 season on the bench. In fact, it took until the 27th of October for him to be given a competitive debut when he scored in Arsenal’s League Cup win over Manchester City. From there, he collected 41 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals.

Van Persie earned his first senior call-up with the Netherlands in 2005 while he was at Arsenal. The 2005/06 domestic campaign was rather hit-or-miss for the Dutchman as he picked up Player of the Month in November 2005 with eight goals in eight starts. However, a broken toe limited his appearances after that and he was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League in 2006.

His most productive campaign in North London came in 2011/12 when he scored 30 goals in 38 games in the Premier League and 36 goals in all competitions that season. That tally, and his total of 132 goals throughout his Arsenal career, convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to splash £24 million on him. What followed in the 2012/13 season was truly spectacular as van Persie scored 26 goals in the Premier League which all but handed Manchester United their 20th league title in comfortable fashion, running out  Premier League Champions by 11 points.

After that stunning debut season, van Persie’s appearances and goals depleted over the next two seasons. In 2013/14, in what was a tough season for Manchester United under David Moyes following the resignation of Ferguson, van Persie registered a mere 21 appearances and just 12 goals. The following season, in what was Louis van Gaal’s debut season as manager for Manchester United, van Persie was left with with just 27 appearances due to injury and otherwise poor form. That season, he registered a mere 10 goals, his lowest tally in the Premier League since 2009/10 during which he scored nine goals in an injury-plagued season for Arsenal.

It was following the 2014/15 season that the Dutchman agreed to sign for Fenerbahce. van Persie leaves behind many memories at both Arsenal and Manchester United. His 26 goals in 2012/13 earned Manchester United an historic 20th title while his 132 goals for Arsenal means that he will go down in history as not only one of Arsenal’s finest, but one of the Premier League’s finest goalscorers.

It is difficult to determine whether or not Robin van Persie’s career in England has been a successful one. On one hand, he has been a consistent goalscorer throughout his 11 year Premier League career with a total of 180 Premier League goals for both Arsenal and Manchester United. What makes this even more impressive is that he has been plagued with frequent injuries throughout those 11 years. Unfortunately, for all of those games and all of those goals, he was only able to get his hands on a mere three trophies (FA Cup 2004/05, Community Shield 2004, 2013, Premier League 2012/13).

From an individual standpoint, van Persie has had an incredible time in England with those aforementioned 180 goals. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, due to his injury issues and his under-whelming silverware tally, his career in England cannot be called an absolute success as one cannot help but wonder what might have been.


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