Archive for November 28th, 2009

Losing RVP is a disaster that could derail our season

Add comment November 28th, 2009

And what’s most galling of all is that this is one natural disaster that didn’t require a seismograph to predict.  Robin van Persie has not yet managed a campaign without a significant injury, and although the consistency and power with which he started this season suggested those days might be over, that assumption was plainly premature.

Waking up to the news that Van Persie’s ankle injury is far worse than feared was like some kind of nightmare anti-Christmas morning.  The Dutchman will now miss four to five months of action, ruling him out of the majority of the season.

Whilst we’re incredibly light upfront in the short-term, with Nicklas Bendtner, also unavailable, it also raises some serious questions about our longer-term attacking strategy.  Do we have a player capable of successfully standing in for Robin?  Can he ever be relied upon to deliver consistency over the course of a season?  Emmanuel Adebayor had many flaws but he did have a remarkable fitness level and a capacity to avoid injury which Robin could only dream of.

In answer to the first question, it’s clear this injury creates a huge opportunity for Nicklas Bendtner, who is the only forward with the physical presence required to play the lone central role.  Unfortunately Eduardo’s slight frame and injury proneness does not, in my eyes, make him a serious candidate to fill the position in the long-term.  Bendtner has massive potential, but is he ready to shoulder that responsibility yet?  I’m sure he would say he is, but then I can’t imagine Bendtner thinking anything was beyond him.

Many will say we must buy in January but I can’t picture that happening.  Arsene will doubtless say that any move to buy a striker would ‘kill’ the careers of Vela, Bendtner, and possibly Walcott.  We know Chamakh was his proposed target, but why would Bordeaux sell in January for a minimal fee when they still have a Champions League campaign to conduct?

It’s a serious, serious problem.  Probably the difference between us mounting a serious title challenge or not.  Someone is going to have to play far, far better than they have before – or we may even have to (whisper it) ‘buy’.

It’s a downer.  A big downer.  Let’s sulk today and get ready for tomorrow – a massive, massive game which could blow away the gloom.

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