Robin van Persie - an apology

By Avenell Dave

There have been many times on these pages when I have said that Arsenal should sell Robin van Persie.

Every time he seemed to step out onto the pitch, he got injured and the run of games that he has had since he arrived a few years ago has hardly been encouraging.

I have mentioned the fact that he has played no more than 14 games in a row or something like that - which underlines how we can't rely on him.

Every time he has fallen down in a crumpled heap or gone off for international duty, he seems to have come back crocked - and it's always ended up being half a season or so.

Arsenal have always had a fairly small squad, with the majority of its fringe players comprising of youngsters who may or may not have the talent to make the difference - but certainly don't have the experience.

That's why you need players of real quality to help you through, players who ooze class and who have the ability to change matches.

We have three of those. Cesc Fabregas is one, Samir Nasri has, this season, proved to be another, and RvP has always had that ability.

But when Arsene Wenger operates such a tight budget and refuses to buy the experience that we need to compete for trophies, you have to ask whether a player like RvP is value for money.

And I lost patience.

I wanted him to go out and buy someone who could score a lot of goals, offer us pace and imagination and scare the living daylights out of the opposition.

And with his injury record, RvP simply was not that man.

But when we played Ch*vski at home, a game most of us expected to  lose, I saw something that made me realise that RvP is simply too good not to persevere with.

He made a nuisance of himself, he scared the Ch*v defenders and he created space and opportunities through his intelligence.

In a nutshell, he is world class. You just have to look at the aplomb with which he took each of his goals on Saturday to see how well he plays when he is match fit.

Forget the penalty, he still got three and but for Wigan's goalkeeper, it could have been double figures.

The side Arsenal played on Saturday may have been our strongest, apart from Thomas Vermaelen, but as Arseblogger said to me yesterday, we have a great chance of winning something this season, if injuries don't stop us.

So every game now, I shiver to the bone when Nasri, Fabregas or RvP go down looking injured, and thankfully, none of them has suffered of late.

Hopefully, Wenger's policy of rotating the players will help keep everyone just fresh enough not to get affected by fatigue, one of the main causes of bad injuries (along of course with the Ryan Shawcross 'he's not that type of player' syndrome).

Tomorrow night could be a tough game and one I'm gutted to be missing.

But if Arsene Wenger is determined to win us silverware, the likes of RvP must start the game.

I'm sorry I doubted you, Robin. Keep up the great work.