The FACTS suggest that statistically selling RVP now was the right decision anyway!

This blog has been written swiftly on the evening we as supporters hear the bad news about our skipper Robin van Persie, wishing to leave our club. Arsenal, Wenger and the board do not match his ambition apparently. It is not definitive and not necessarily my complete opinion but it is worth a read and it may well add some perspective and help you through the day.

A taste of the RVP past or the RVP future? 

Truth is he is getting on a bit in top flight striker terms and perhaps he feels his time to win silverware if running out? After all his body has been ravaged by injuries and he is into his 30th year at the start of this season.

Well guess what Robin you are right old friend, as it goes it is all downhill from here at you might just regret not sticking with a system and a team designed for your strengths. Do you know why?  Because statistically, very few top strikers in the top leagues in Europe, deliver beyond their 29th birthday. You don’t believe me?

Well Robin let’s start with a true Arsenal Legend in Thierry Henry. In his 29th year and his penultimate season at Arsenal, 2005/5 Henry bagged 27 Premier League goals. Impressive stuff one has to admit. In his 30th year in 2006/7 he managed just 10 in his last season at Arsenal and in the following 3 seasons at Barcelona he managed 12, 19 and 4 respectively.

 Last year at Arsenal was poor

This is of course only one player, although a valid example, but let’s look at a more reasonable study and bring this more up to date. I am certain that no one would argue that a reasonable benchmark of a striker in a top league at the height of their powers to the scoring of more than 20 goals. This being the case I think it fair to use as our study those strikers who achieved this for their clubs in the top European leagues last season.

Table 1.

Euro League Player League Goals
Spain La Liga Messi 50
Spain La Liga Ronaldo 46
Dutch Eredivisie Dost 32
English Premier Van Persie 30
German Bundesliga Huntelaar 29
Italian Serie A Ibrahimovic 28
English Premier Rooney 27
German Bundesliga Gomez 26
Dutch Eredivisie De Jong 25
Italian Serie A Milito 25
Spain La Liga Falcao 24
English Premier Aguero 23
Dutch Eredivisie Malki 23
Italian Serie A Di Natale 23
Italian Serie A Cavani 23
German Bundesliga Lewandowski 22
Spain La Liga Higuain 22
Spain La Liga Benzema 21
France Ligue 1 Giroud 21
France Ligue 1 Nene 21


If you have not guessed where I am going with this and why only 4 of the top 20 strikers in Europe are emboldened please have a look at table 2. This is exactly the same information with one additional piece of data added.

Table 2

Euro League Player League Goals Age at start of 11/12
Spain La Liga Messi 50 24
Spain La Liga Ronaldo 46 26
Dutch Eredivisie Dost 32 22
English Premier Van Persie 30 28
German Bundesliga Huntelaar 29 27
Italian Serie A Ibrahimovic 28 30
English Premier Rooney 27 25
German Bundesliga Gomez 26 25
Dutch Eredivisie De Jong 25 20
Italian Serie A Milito 25 32
Spain La Liga Falcao 24 25
English Premier Aguero 23 23
Dutch Eredivisie Malki 23 27
Italian Serie A Di Natale 23 33
Italian Serie A Cavani 23 24
German Bundesliga Lewandowski 22 22
Spain La Liga Higuain 22 23
Spain La Liga Benzema 21 23
France Ligue 1 Giroud 21 24
France Ligue 1 Nene 21 29





Ibra and Milito very much the exceptions in Europe

Yes you guessed it there were only 4 of the top 20 league goal scorers in 2011/12 that began that season at the age of 29 or over. 29 of course is the age that van Persie will be at the start of this season.  By far the majority of these top players, many of whom graced the recent Euros are at their peak and the average age of these strikers at the start of the season was 25.65. (Pretty much the combined average age of our 2 new strikers as it goes!)

We continued with Thierry Henry as skipper in 2006/7 when he was 29 and found our season hindered by his niggling back and from memory ankle problems. However because he was our leader and a legend we persevered, not least as the team was set up to his style of play.  It so nearly back fired and Henry delivered only 10 goals in the league.

The departure of van Persie will leave a bitter taste, but this is not like the departures of Nasri and Fabregas, who had their best years ahead of them. RVP statistically, particularly given his injury history is very unlikely to deliver what he has for the last 18 months going forwards. In addition unlike last summer, Wenger and the board have moved swiftly to buy replacements in Podolski and Giroud.

Am I being unfair and just looking for an angle to cheer you all up – Perhaps. However let us not forget, however good he is Robin has only taken part in 63% of our league matches in 8 seasons and his last was the first time he has managed more than 28 of 38 matches. Do I really believe that he will not get anywhere near the achievements and goal tally of 2011/12?  Yes I do believe that. If he stays for the final year he will not be our sole focal point in attack. If he gets a move to another top side he will not be the main focus of the team and he will be half a yard slower than is already not so fast top speed.

Don’t forget guys whatever happens we are Arsenal and the future is bright. I know it will be said again and again but this great institution we all love is so much bigger than one man, and one man in his 30th year at that.

Until next time thanks for reading:

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  1. Now if van persie is leaving let him bit pls buy a replacement n a good AM
    My bets lewandowski/cavani and gotze/belhanda
    n I m sure arsenal fans will forget him
    But arsenal need to sort out Theo n songs future asap

    1. We’ve bought the replacements already. The Club has known he was not going to re sign since before the Euro Championships. Can you not see that ?

      1. not really replacements an unknown and an under achieving german! Niyant is right we need to buy a class attacking midfielder, a centre back and a keeper. Lets not forget the Arsenal team set up RVP’s goals, every striker to be Arsenals main man over the years has scored bags of goals the team provide the assists. Henry, Bergkamp, Wright, RVP, whoever comes in will get goals fact! but a class CAM would lighten the burden on the new striker.

  2. pls. lethim go arsenal is aclub more than money and silver.belive me vanpersie”s time is allover last year,we will see him on the bench herafter.

  3. I believe you,Arsenal is bigger than any player even Arsene Wenger himself.Life continues

    1. Not bigger than Arsene Wenger surely ??? I thought he was the genius above all others in the entire footballing world ? Like throughout the past 8 years.

      1. Chris. Your view is decidedly negative as usual. Yes I knew he wanted to leave sometime ago but my take on it is different to yours.

      2. Chris only has a negative view on anything or complete BS from his “friend in the know”, I always skip past his comments nowadays, it’s time I will never get back in my life.

  4. RVP has what 4 good years left in him( if he doesn’t get injured), why not buy a top class 20 year old like Gotze or Belhanda or even Reus and get this new Arsenal team kick started.

  5. The best revenge to this blatant betrayal is to win trophies next season and show him we can win things with or without him. I’m still positive that all these happens for a good reason.

  6. Good point! We sold Henry, Pires, Viera on top of their careers. They never maitained their Arsenal level. RVP has max two years left at this level – if he is lucky. Cesc of course is different. He is going to run Barcelona for the next five.

  7. Nice article Dave, I remember some time ago (not long ago) you had an article starting with the title ‘thinking the unthinkable….’ about the same chapter and I totally agree with both of the articles whatsoever. No player is bigger than a club. Wenger needs to act very wisely with the situation.

  8. Fair article. However, the two strikers bought are NOT sufficient, injuries don’t have remorse! Whatever the RVP sale amount should be all used for another striker, that should get us good quality! RVP leaving is not ideal, but not a train smash either! Other players departures are somewhat understandable but for a player that’s sent more time off the pitch than on? No-one is irreplacable, all we need to is use the incoming funds for players, that’s the problem! Man..RVP plus new players in, we were looking at a lethal attack!

  9. Wenger was prepared for this thats why he bought Poldi and Giroud.Sell him to City and get us Dzeko plus give Theo a good contract.Who needs Robin when we got Afobe.

  10. if the dustbin has not been thrown out i will say we bring Juve over back to table cos we might not even get better and he doesn’t earn 8mil pounds for a year so it will be a good bargain. He did his part when fit, and for his age he needs something to show his son that he was a great player in his time. The only thing i won’t mind is if we can swap him for benzema, higuain, Ibrahimovic or Dzeko, any of these guys will do better for us even than RVP. Gunners till i die!!!

  11. To RVP thanks for the 1 1/2 good seasons you’ve had out of the 8 you’ve been with us.You may leave but AFC will continue without you

  12. I’m just terribly dissapointed in RVP. He should be shipped out asap and not be allowed to run down his contract. Can’t even bear the sight of him in an arsenal jersey again. He is a big let down

  13. All this might be true but it still hurts to lose our captain. It sucks to keep losing your top players after every season be it because of greed or what they term as “ambition”.

  14. Dave, at this moment, I’m so sad and angry – I think pissed if the right word- that I’m tying hard not to say what I might regret later. I’m still watching fans reactions and studing events as they unfold. In any case, Arsenal above others still remains my motto. Don’t be deceived, RVP made up his mind on 18th Feb, 2012 the day we lost our FA Cup match to Sunderland and we had nothing else to play for but a CL qualification. But, using his personal website to deliver a statement to the fans, to me, is the zenith of disrespect. Ugh! now I’m saying too much. Fingers still crossed and wacthing. Thanks again Dave, you are a gunner role model. x

  15. Sell him, but not to Eastland please!!! Sell him somewhere else! Or swap him with Higuain.
    And get that 4-4-2 again.

  16. Morning y’all, I’ve had a long and hard look at the RVP situation and I’ve made up my mind that we need to sell him. I know RVP has a laptop, an iPad and an iPhone and he’s probably reading some of our tweets and posts. With the manner he released his statement, selling him at a premium is probably unlikely. In that case, we should sell him to a club that he totally wouldn’t like, and my take is Celtic. There he’s sure of winning titles every year. On the other hand, he still have time to redeem himself and be like Steven Gerrard of Liverpool. Untill then, he’s dead to me. Simples.

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