Robin Van Persie Related Content
After wrapping up his first Premier League title, Robin van Persie returns to the Emirates after a summer transfer to Manchester United.
Although Manchester United already locked up their 20th title, Sunday's match will still have more than enough meaning behind it. A rivalry that for years was incredibly intense, not only between the players on the pitch, but also between the managers.
Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were far from friends, but as the years have passed and the Gunners have fallen out of title contention, the two managers appear to have put that heated relationship behind them.
For the fans, the rivalry may have become even more tense after their leading scorer last season eventually forced his way out of the club. He not only wanted to move elsewhere, but he made the move across England and signed for United. While it was a great decision in regards to increasing his title chances, he also lost a remarkable number of fans by putting pen to paper.
With Van Persie stealing most of the headlines, ahead of the clash between rivals Arsenal and Man United, the Dutchman is expected to be the centre of attraction as he faces the Emirates crowd for the first time since his summer move.
His reception at the Emirates is expected to be harsh, but older followers of the game are well aware of the fact that this clash is a lot more than the Dutchman.
The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United is one of the most fierce rivalries in English football, and although it has somewhat softened over the past few years, the truth remains that whenever the two sides clash, the stadium begins to buzz with an air of passion and energy. This is because of the vibrant history that the clash owns in past couple of decades.
Former Arsenal captain, Robin Van Persie, will head to his former ground on Sunday, hoping for a good reception.
A brilliant goal in the FA Cup against Blackburn Rovers for Arsenal set him up for a brilliant career with the Gunners. Unfortunately, his eight year career was marred by injuries and lack of trophies. Arsenal fans and management could not let go of him easily. He was after all, their talisman, their rescuer, their hero.
Van Persie wrote an open letter before heading to Manchester United. The words of the letter expressed thinly veiled insults at Arsenal; Arsenal was just not ambitious enough for him. He walked to Manchester United where Sir Alex Ferguson took him in with open arms. He almost forgot how much Arsenal contributed to his well being, including during a much publicized rape case.
On Sunday, Arsenal take on newly-crowned English champions Manchester United at the Emirates and a lot of focus would be on former striker, Robin van Persie who returns to a ground where he was once a hero.
The striker controversially left Arsenal for Manchester United last summer for a fee believed to be in the reign of 24 million pounds and his departure has changed things significantly for both the sides.
A hostile reception awaits the Dutchman for his first return to a club where he became one of the most lethal strikers in England.
Last season, it was the Dutchman who confidently took the goal scoring burden on his shoulders and scored a career high of 37 goals in 48 games. Unluckily though, his exploits were not enough to guide the club to any form of silverware.
8th May 2002 is a familiar date for many Arsenal fans. It was the day when just four days after defeating Chelsea 2-0 in the F.A Cup final, the Gunners went on to clinch the Premier League title, defeating their bitter rivals Manchester United 1 -0 in front of the Red Devils’ home crowd.
It was a time when Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal was at the summit of its dominance in English football, winning 12 straight games before this one, and achieving several great accomplishments during the time period. This historic game saw the end of the careers of two club legends in Tony Adams and Lee Dixon, both retiring after providing a mammoth proportion of their respective careers to the club.
Their strong presence and experience at the back can be judged from the fact that in this season, Arsenal was the second lowest goal conceders in the league, a major reason for its triumph.
It was in the month of March when Manchester United’s dreams of recording an immaculate treble came crashing down, when they lost to Madrid and then surrendered a lead against Chelsea in the FA Cup.
April did not bring good luck either, and on the first day of the month United crashed out of yet another competition when Demba Ba scored the only goal of the game in the FA Cup replay match.
Manchester United remain the only club in the history of English football to have achieved the most highly regarded treble of League title, European champions and FA Cup back in 1999. Ferguson himself was very confident of a repeat of the antics in 1999 and claimed that his current crop have the same vigour, the treble winners did.
The Champions League resumes tonight as Clubs battle for a place in the semi finals of this year’s competition. Ahead of the matches let’s take a look at some of the most controversial incidents in the history of the illustrious tournament.
Ibra’s offside goal against Barcelona April 2, 2013 - Quarter-Final
PSG drew against the mighty Barcelona at the Parc Des Princes in a Champions League Quarter Final encounter last week, courtesy of a controversial Ibrahimovic goal.
Ibra was not in an offside position when the cross was placed inside the box. It was however met by the head of Thiago Silva, after which the ball landed in the path of the Swedish striker who was then in an offside position. However the goal stood and PSG were lucky to end the match with the scores even.
Nani’s red card against Madrid March 5, 2013 – Round of 16
When Turkish referee showed Manchester United winger Nani a straight red, the club’s UEFA Champions League campaign suffered a severe dent as a 10 man United found it hard to neutralize a dominant Real Madrid side.
United enjoy a 15 point cushion over arch nemesis City, and with eight more games to play it is becoming more and more clear that the Premier League title is heading towards the theatre of dreams this season.
As things stand, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United are romping towards what will be their 20th English Premier League title. After a heartbreaking moment when United lost the title to their City rivals on the last game of the season, Ferguson’s men were persistent in their quest this time around and provided City no opportunity of gaining an advantage.
Angry at how they handed that title to their ‘noisy neighbours’, Sir Alex knew that nothing less than a domestic title this season would ease that pain.
As the season approaches its closure, one player will be crowned as the best performer of the current 2012/2013 campaign, here we take a look at individuals who are most likely to win the award.
Robin Van Persie
The most likely winner is the Dutch talisman Robin Van Persie, having made a surprise multi million pound move from Arsenal at the beginning of the campaign the striker has seamlessly adjusted into a highly competitive Manchester United side.
While his strike partners Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck have misfired at times, the Dutchman showed superb consistency in the first half of the season driving his team ahead. He was labeled by many as a waste of money, given United’s prolific striking options, many regarded him to be a one season wonder, but the former Feyenoord man has defied all odds and is currently the best striker at the best team in England.
Manchester United defence could also be looked at, with Rafael and Patrice Evra expected to earn loads.
It's the 31st match-day at the Premier League and the couple of weeks off would have done the teams and their managers some good. Even as a football fantasy manager, every once in a while it is a good thing to sit back and relax without the pressure of selecting those players and choosing those captains to get the batteries recharged. And when the gas-tank is fully refuelled, it's an even better feeling to get down to the business of strategising.
The week begins with Sunderland hosting the current leaders and almost certain Premier League winners Manchester United. With Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole out injured and United going through a period of strong defensive resilience, I cannot see where Sunderland will score their goals from.
Manchester United return to the league after disappointing outings in FA Cup and Champions League fixtures, the league leaders must now do their utmost to not lose their concentration and maintain their lead over City.
The Red Devils suffered a major setback to their treble dreams, as they were controversially knocked out by Real Madrid in the Champions League. United were then under persistent media scrutiny as news surrounding Wayne Rooney’s imminent departure surfaced in top newspapers in England. There were further concerns when Ferguson’s men surrendered a two goal lead against Chelsea last week in the FA Cup semi-final.
United were infact lucky to not crash out of two tournaments in consecutive fixtures, after Juan Mata forced a great save from David De Gea in the dying moments of the match and United ultimately survived, now having to play a replay of the fixture.
Suarez's class and good form make him a blue chip while Michu has to get scoring sometime sooner than later.
It's the 30th match-day at the Premier League this season and the good news for all fantasy managers is that all the 20 teams will be in action unlike the last week-end.
Play begins with Everton hosting Manchester City at Goodison Park before Swansea welcome Arsenal and Manchester United take on Reading at home in Saturday action. On Sunday, Tottenham will hope to shrug off their loss at the hands of Liverpool as they take on Fulham last week before Chelsea look to build on their FA Cup performance against Manchester United when they play West Ham.
A fierce encounter can be expected on Sunday when the arch-rivals meet for an FA Cup match. Both have similar striker woes, and the team tackling this problem the best is more likely to taste victory.
With both sides suffering traumatic defeats in the preceding weeks, the upcoming FA Cup encounter between Chelsea and Manchester United promises to be a fierce contest in which both sides will try to make up for the pride they lost recently in Europe.
The match is also likely to be a goal fest, as Manchester United have scored at least three goals in each of their last four encounters with Chelsea. Chelsea will also look to dominate the game, and the only way to counter goals is by scoring goals yourself. The problem arises with the strike-force for both the teams.
Real Madrid have finally landed in Manchester, for the showdown tie between the two sides. Even with the score level at 1-1, Madrid appear to be favourites for the clash, so what must the Red Devils do to guarantee a place in the last eight?
This is very much stating the obvious, but United will definitely have to alter their tactics in order to control the Madrid man who has been in electrifying form recently.
Ferguson’s tactics did not seem to work in the first half of the first leg, when the Portuguese captain repeatedly tormented young Brazilian defender Rafael Da Silva. He was also left free in the penalty box and took his chance brilliantly, when he leaped well above a helpless Patrice Evra and scored the equalizer. However in the second half Ronaldo was tightly marked by the Phil Jones, who allowed him no breathing space and thus Ronaldo’s contribution was limited in the last 45 minutes of the game.
Ferguson will have to revise his tactics to stop the man he himself preached, perhaps he should drop Rafael for the more defensively sound Chris Smalling, or maybe play Antonio Valencia on the right flank to provide defensive support to the full back.
The ‘match of the season’ – Manchester United vs Real Madrid – will put the Theatre of Dreams on fire this Tuesday. Only one side can reach the UEFA Champions League Last 8 and which one will it be?
Team news and analysis
Updated March 5, 2013 - 2:35PM.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs; NANI, Welbeck and Van Persie.
Real Madrid: Diego López; Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Özil, Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuaín
Robin van Persie is known for losing his temper quite easily. The Dutch player will need to keep his cool on Tuesday as one booking would put him under a ban. The situation is similar for Rafael who was tasked by Alex Ferguson to mark Cristiano Ronaldo in the first leg of this tie at the Santiago Bernabeu. The same goes for influential defender Sergio Ramos and midfielder Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid. These four key players will need to play with caution.
Shinji Kagawa proved his intent to feature against Los Blancos with a hat-trick against Norwich City on Saturday. He made history by becoming the first Asian to net three goals in one match in the English Premier League. If played on Tuesday, he may cause troubles with his pace and desire to make a big impact on the international stage since quitting German football last summer.
This Wednesday, there is Champions League football at the Santiago Bernabeu. The match stars Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie.
Team news and analysis
Real Madrid vs Manchester United is such a huge clash that every player dreams about taking part in it. However, veteran keeper Iker Casillas, new sensation Raphael Varane and influential winger Angel Di Maria will be nothing more than spectators on Wednesday night. All three Real Madrid stars are out injured.
Portuguese defender Pepe warmed up for this Champions League clash with an appearance against Sevilla last Sunday. He should be fit to make the First XI. Jose Mourinho is likely to give Jose Callejon a rare start. The latter’s role will be to offer support to Karim Benzema who is set to keep his place upfront. Global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was taken off after the hour mark during Real Madrid’s 4-1 demolition of Sevilla last Saturday.
On the 13th of February 2013, the Santiago Bernabéu is poised to host its biggest event of the season, as they welcome Premier League leaders Manchester United.
The tie will put Manchester United’s own prodigal son Cristiano Ronaldo against his former side, who in an interview to UEFA’s official Champions League magazine was quoted saying that Real Madrid has a better team than United.
Is the Castillian side really better than the Red Devils? A position by position analysis will give us a better view
An injury to Real Madrid star Iker Casillas, has called upon the services of former Sevilla goalie Diego Lopez. Having made 3 starts for the Castillian side after his January move, Lopez has conceded only 2 goals. Though he has not been at the club for long, the 31 year old has done reasonably well at his former clubs Sevilla and Villareal both in Spanish as well as European competitions.
Manchester United on the other hand are yet to choose a Number 1, with both Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea fighting for the spot. De Gea is most likely to make the cut but has been on a very uninspiring form this season, which had let to rumours of the Spanish youngster’s exit from the club. He has managed to put up a number of decent performances recently, Diego Lopez however still seems to have an edge over his compatriot.
Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester United
Gameweek 26 of the Barclays Premier League threw up a few surprises; some players stole the show while some others failed to do the same.
Football is a game of two halves and there is no denying this. Simon Mignolet made save after save against Arsenal to keep his side in the contest but the resilient keeper was finally beaten and Arsenal won the game 1-0. Szczesny matched the displays of Simon Mignolet in the second-half; this was much needed because Arsenal were down to 10 men. The Arsenal keeper made a series of saves and Arsenal ended up winning the game.
Leighton Baines has been incredible this season, he has been scoring very freely for a defender and at the same time he does not ignore his defensive responsibilities. Baines could not prevent Everton from losing against Manchester United. A certain someone called Rafael stole the show. Rafael’s performance was a tour de force and the Brazilian deserves to be included in the team of the week.
Robin van Perise, Michu and Eden Hazard among my picks for this weekends games.
After a week where fantasy scouts would have done well to stack up their defensive line, it could well be back to a high-scoring 26th round
in the EPL fantasy.
Let me dive straight into the thick of things and I cannot help but saying that Robin van Persie could well be on his way to carving out a few for himself. Goals. Assists. Or both. It’s been two Premier League games since he last scored – he was rested for one FA Cup game as well – and for a striker who has already netted 18 times this EPL season, I find it difficult to see him not score this weekend.
The second reason worth considering is that the Red Devils play Everton next at Old Trafford. Everton may be fifth on the table but since September 3, they have kept only two clean sheets in all competitions – against Southampton and Swansea.
How many die-hard Arsenal fans are satisfied with Arsene Wenger’s performance during the just-ended January 2013 transfer window? A strong finish this season might save the coach again.
When the Frenchman was appointed back in 1996, Arsenal fans were bewildered as to why an unknown was given charge of one of the biggest clubs in England. They were soon convinced of his quality and sung his name collectively.
Wenger devised a policy on how he wanted to run the club and his tactics worked very effectively. He introduced a playing style which was pleasing to the eyes and is now replicated by many teams in the game.
His achievements were mirrored by the double capture of the EPL and FA cup titles in the 1997/98 and the 2001/02 seasons. Probably his biggest achievement and the cornerstone of every Gunner’s pride came in the 2003-2004 season when Arsenal went the entire season undefeated in the league.