One of the best individual performances in a season of the Premier League is that of Robin van Persie in 2012/13.
The Dutchman scored 26 goals and created 15 assists throughout the 38 game season, ultimately bringing the Premier League back to Manchester United in his debut season with the club.
He was the most important factor to United’s success that season. This analysis will look into how he was so good for the Red Devils in 2012/13.
Robin Van Persie’s 2012/13 Season Is One of the Best Individual Performances in the Premier League Era
With 26 goals in the Premier League, van Persie was one of the most clinical strikers in Europe. The Dutchman averaged 2.02 shots on target per game. His clinical nature was shown by the fact that on average scored he scored from every three shots on target (0.33 G/SoT). His lethal left foot was a dangerous weapon.
A perfect example of his impressive finishing is from his first game and goal against Fulham. The ball is played into van Persie from the left. His marker is coming in very tight to him. This gives the United striker next to no time to get a shot off on goal. However, van Persie not only manages to get a shot off but he also finishes brilliantly into the far corner.
The impressive nature of this goal is that a typical shot from this situation would be shot at the near post. This kind of shot would most likely be saved by the goalkeeper. Whereas van Persie’s delicate finish allowed him to find the far corner, out of the goalkeepers reach.
His great finishing is epitomised by his second goal against Aston Villa, where he scored a hat-trick for the second time in the season.
Wayne Rooney played a brilliant ball over the top; van Persie was able to connect with the ball perfectly with his left foot sending it in the right side of the Villa net. He watched the ball come over his right shoulder and showed great coordination and skill to get such a brilliant connection.
Delivery Into the Area
Not only was van Persie lethal in front of goal, but he was also a great supplier; he notched nine assists in the Premier League throughout the campaign. His set-piece delivery was a big asset; he managed four assists from a dead ball situation.
Surprisingly, van Persie created 15 big chances for teammates throughout the season. In comparison, Juan Mata who topped the assist charts at Chelsea with 12 assists created 14 big chances, one less than the Dutchman.
Although he was one of the best finishers in Europe, it was clear that van Persie was not a one-dimensional player and could be an asset in other areas of the game.
Importance of His Goals
Many strikers can get goals, but the best strikers are the ones who consistently score ones of importance. Robin van Persie certainly was one of these strikers.
His goals alone in the Premier League contributed to a staggering 28 points for the Red Devils. He scored in 11 games where United would only win by one goal, and he scored the match-winner in six of those games.
Possibly his most important goal across the entire season was his last-minute free-kick against rivals Manchester City, where he won the game for United in the 91st minute, sending them 6 points clear at the top of the table ahead of City in second.
United didn’t let this lead slip. They continued to have an impressive 18 league game unbeaten streak. This run was ultimately ended by City later in the year.
It was too late by then though. United would mathematically win the Premier League after their visit to Villa Park on the 22nd of April 2013, the game where van Persie scored his incredible volley and a first-half hat trick.
Signing Robin van Persie was the deciding factor in Manchester United winning the Premier League in 2013. In hindsight, it is clear that the United side in 2013 was not the best, with many players such as Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, and Ryan Giggs at the tail end of their careers.
Without the goals and assists that van Persie netted for the Red Devils, it is doubtful that they would’ve won the Premier League in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge. Ultimately, this shows the great importance that the Dutchman had throughout the 2012/13 season.