Can I get a few volunteers? Just a few brave and dedicated Arsenal supporters who will volunteer 1 bone in their body (or ligament, tendon, cartilage, vital organ, what have you) and offer it up to the Football Gods so that our man Robin van Persie can go at least 1 calendar year without injury.
For example, you might offer up the pinkie toe on your left foot. Not a major area of concern for most folks. But for Robin, being left-footed, having a broken pinkie toe on his left foot could mean several weeks out during the season. Alternatively, you might be a bit more brave and offer your medula oblongata. Bit of a risk offering that as most people find it useful to go through life with that area of the brain in good form. But, as a dedicated Gooner / Goonerette, hey…y’know…how abut taking one for the team? I’m just sayin’.
This all may sound a little silly, but since it’s being reported that RVP suffered an arm injury (suspected fracture) yesterday against Brazil…well…I might not be kidding about this volunteering thing.
Oh, by the way, did you see that ending to the Ghana – Uruguay match? Absolutely the craziest ending to a match. Drawn after 90, drawn after extra time, drawn after a missed PK at the death of extra time and finally penalty kicks to find a winner. Breathtaking stuff!
Our main point of concern though, is with the Netherlands – Brazil match up. And that was no chump match either. Brazil, coming in as heavy favorites to win the whole thing, faced a determined Oranje squad who’ve yet to hit peak form in the 2010 World Cup. For those of you who have been reading these articles since the World Cup began, you’ll recall I’ve mentioned several times that the Netherlands’ back four was suspect, especially central defense. This was proved a prophetic set of comments as Brazil opened the scoring on what was surely the easiest goal of the tournament. With both the midfield and defense falling asleep, Robino streaked right through the center of the Dutch team unmarked, collected a pass from a stood at midfield Felipe Melo, broke into the box and fired passed a stunned Maarten Stekelenburg for the opening goal on 10 minutes. Brazil celebrated, the Dutch stood around pointing fingers at each other. Not a good start for the Netherlands. From the off, this was a chippy match with both sides putting in some dodgy challenges (plus a good bit of Ronaldo-esque play acting) and players were hitting the deck with great frequency. Four yellows to the Netherlands and one to Brazil indicated that these two sides don’t really care for each other. While possession was fairly even, Brazil had more promising time in the attack during the first half. Kaka in particular tested the Dutch keeper on 31 minutes with a blistering curler from just outside the box. The Netherlands finally drew even on 53 minutes. Felipe Melo’s noggin prevented Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar from parrying a Wesley Sneijder left-footed volley from 25 yards out. Sneijder’s foot to Melo’s head and into the net. Simples. With the sides trading some not so threatening possession back and forth, the Dutch were able to strike again on 68 minutes. Arjen Robben took a corner kick that was one-touched by Dirk Kuyt and Wesley Sneijder headed in beautifully. 2-1 to the Oranje. And with the Dutch leading the chippy fouls returned to the match, culminating with Felipe Melo being shown red for stomping on Arjen Robben’s thigh at the 73 minute mark. Down to 10 men, it was an academic exercise for Brazil as they couldn’t overcome either the man numbers or the numbers on the scoreboard as time wound down.
van Persie In The Background As Dutch Roll On
Statistics don’t lie. Well, they do, but only if it’s a government flunkie giving them to you. In Robin van Persie’s case, 3 shots and none on goal pretty much sums up his involvement in the Dutch attack yesterday against Brazil. Around 56 minutes appears to be the play in which van Persie may have injured himself. Taking a pass that was adjudged off side, Robin went down hard on his left side while trying to kick the ball back into the area. It looks like his left forearm buckles as he put his hand out to break the fall and he came up needing the physio. Despite the injury, Robin soldiered on til 85 minutes when he was subbed for Klaas Jan Huntelaar. Robin mentioned after the last match that he’s been frustrated by his lack of goals. But in watching the Dutch attack, it’s just not flowing to or through the Arsenal man. RVP is often on the periphery of possession, sometimes distributing a pass here and there or getting the odd free kick. Beyond that though, nary a featuring moment when the Netherlands go forward. They might be running the same 4-3-3 formation as Arsenal, but it’s definitely NOT the same attack as van Persie isn’t the central focus for either shots on goal or creative play moving through him. So far my prediction of the Netherlands winning the World Cup is on track. Lets hope my other prediction of RVP bagging some goals and putting his mark on the international game comes to pass in the semis and finals.
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