Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gunners Fans Excited by Future without RVP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gunners Fans Excited by Future without RVP

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

SO THEY finally scored. But then again, so did he. At lunchtime in Liverpool yesterday Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla showed where Arsenal's future might lie. How annoying, then, that as teatime rolled by on the south coast, Robin van Persie, in a white Manchester United shirt, went and dragged up images of the glorious past. The question for Arsenal fans is: which reality would you prefer? There would be nothing more pleasurable to Arsenal than for Van Persie's expensive move to Manchester United to be a catastrophic failure.

Just imagine the sheer, malicious glee that would already be bouncing around the Emirates Stadium if RVP had arrived at Old Trafford and channelled the spirit of Andrew Cole in 1995, or Diego Forlan in 2002: not so much unable to hit a barn door with a baseball bat as unable to find the barn and instead resorting to hitting himself in the face with the bat, live on television every weekend.

Alas, it appears -- on the basis of van Persie's first three games for United, in which he has scored four goals in his first twoand-a-half games -- that will not be the case.

Indeed, van Persie is already doing for United this year what he did so well for Arsenal last: single-handedly making the difference between victory and defeat, particularly in games where scoring is not easy and the team is troubled by injury and jittery defending.

Van Persie may have forgotten how to take penalties (or else convinced himself that 'Panenka' is Czech for 'toe it towards the keeper's hand like a toddler kicking a helium balloon to mummy') but everything else about Arsenal's former darling is present and brilliantly correct. When his team-mates need their bums wiping, he's the man with the Andrex. How very vexing.

On the other hand, the sense of interrupted schadenfreude that radiated from St Mary's last night will trouble Arsenal far less today thanks to the style of their own, quietly promising 2-0 deconstruction of Brendan Rogers's anaemic Liverpool team.

The last time Arsenal played Liverpool at Anfield -- March this year -- their 2-1 victory was an RVP classic. …

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