A fully firing and fit Robin van Persie is one of the deadliest strikers in Europe.
Let’s be honest, if we’d had Van the Man for a couple of months more after Xmas last season, we could well have ended up with the silverware that eluded us.
But I’ve been disappointed with him this season, I have to admit.
Sure, he scored twice against Newcastle and twice against Porto and five goals by this stage of the season is none too shabby.
But while I remain a great supporter of van Persie, I can’t help thinking that his performances have not been up to scratch this season.
Perhaps it’s because in the past, he set himself such high standards – that volley at Charlton; the spinning on the right and goal from an acute angle at Highbury against Blackburn; the endless numbers of free kicks that speed past goalkeepers, prepared or otherwise.
This season we’ve seen a more subdued Dutchman, and it could be a cause for concern.
Last week at Sunderland, RvP started on the left again and showed that he really is no left winger.
It’s a positive sign at Arsène Wenger is trying out new formations after rigidly sticking to 4-4-2 and failing to have a plan B almost since our run to the Champions League final in 2006.
But when there are wide players available such as Manu Eboue or Carlos Vela (despite his future probably being as a striker, his form on the left in Spain last season suggests that he has more ability to play there than RvP), why not use them rather than a player who has never demonstrated his aptitude for that position?
But think about it – against Bolton when RvP was on the bench, we actually looked dangerous and created chances with Nic Bendtner muscling his way past defences who weren’t expecting such a physical battle.
It comes as little surprise that RvP is injured again – this time a hamstring injury – but with Vela and Bendtner both showing signs of real ability, it’s probably time to give one of them an extende chance anyway.
• The Arsenal international curse strikes again. Breaking news that William Gallas is out now with a thigh injury. But with Mikael Silvestre fit and desperate to prove himself, maybe Gallas needs a little break anyway and Silvestre has the experience and ability to more than hold his own at the back.