As Van Persie goes down – so does Arsenal?

van persieRobin Van Persie went down in the Dutch friendly this weekend with torn ankle ligaments. He will be out for at least six weeks but likely a couple months. This is just simply a huge blow for Arsenal.

I wrote earlier that Van Persie, not Fabregas, was the key to Arsenal’s season. We shall see if that pans out. But ever since Henry left Arsenal have lacked that striker that just scores goals out of nothing. Yes Adebayor is class, but he squandered many chances and required his teammates to put him in position to score. To put it another way, Adebayor rarely was able to score out of nothing or against the run of play. Van Persie this year was really emerging as a world class striker. He has the speed and technique of a winger, but is big and strong enough to play upfront with his back to goal. And he was showing that rare knack for scoring goals. Against Spurs and Fulham this year Van Persie got goals out of nothing, forcing the opposition to push forward and allowing Arsenal’s counterattacking game to flourish.

To make matters worse for Arsenal, the logical back up for the center striker position, Nikolas Bendtner, is also injured and will be out for a while. Eduardo is the next one in line, but he is pretty slender to lead the line. Arsenal have plenty of pacy attacking wingers, in Arshavin, Walcott, Nasri, Walcott, Vela, Rosciky, but none of those players can really replace Van Persie. This is also coming at a time in the season when Arsenal is entering the cold wintery months – a period where they have at times struggled, especially playing away at the Blackburns and Wigans.

After looking as if they could make a legitimate challenge for the title, I think this comes close to eliminating that possibility. A worst case scenario for Arsenal fans is that this could put their top four status in danger. The table is still very tight among the top 6 and 7 and a few draws and losses and Arsenal could find themselves in real trouble.


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