Poor isn’t a word that was thrown at Robin van Persie last season. After all after scoring 37 goals in what was at the start of the season a poor Arsenal team, he pretty much had the best season of his career to date.
However to the delight of defenders worldwide, the best can turn into Emile Heskey overnight and against Denmark yesterday in Kharkiv, RVP had a BAD performance which probably left everyone watching thinking OMG.
Arsenal’s captain was not given much time or space in the game but his first touch so often one of his strengths vanished for the best part of yesterday, leading some crticis to believe the occasion and pressure got to him.
To be fair to van Persie, Holland despite playing well yesterday came up against a solid and resilient Denmark team who played to their strengths, very much like their European Championship winning team of 1992 did so famously in Sweden.
In truth only Wesley Sneijder, who it seems will always be linked with a move to Manchester United played well for Holland. The Inter Milan star found his man at almost every opportunity spraying passes at ease over the Danish defence.
Whether it was an audacious flick with the outside of his feet or a scooped ball over the defence, Sneijder was ticking for the Dutch and the only thing missing from his performance was a clear-cut opportunity on goal, which you would have backed him to dispatch confidently.
Just recently turned 28, the midfielder probably still has one big move left in his career and with the quality of his passing yesterday added in with his movement off-the-ball, would clearly add a different dimension to any team in Europe.
But back to van Persie. All top players can have off-days and it’s clear that when teams are organised like Denmark were that it makes it harder for those players to dominate games and showcase their skills. Daniel Agger had van Persie's number yesterday and he led the Danes well putting in a 'captain performance' alongside Simon Kjaer in defence who also was exceptional to say the least.
Just like his manager Bert van Marwijk said Holland didn’t lose yesterday solely because van Persie had an off-day. They lost because several members of their team underperformed, Denmark played well and they were unlucky as they were not awarded two penalties which should have been given for hand-ball offences…
..which perhaps RVP could have dispatched getting on the score-sheet which no doubt would have left nobody criticising his performance. Oh well, that’s football for you.
By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87