One of the rays of sunshine from a underwhelming performance against Wigan was the return of Robin van Persie to the bench after an extended spell out with a spate of various injuries. While the Dutchman was far from his best when he came on for the last twenty or so minutes he showed enough to suggest that he will make a significant contribution to the side in the final period of the season, something Arsene Wenger commented on yesterday.
“He can make a difference. How much? I don’t know. He is desperate to come back and do well.”
Can he make a difference? Definitely. Will he? I hope so. He’s such a class act, van Persie and he showed glimpses of that class on the bumpy Wigan pitch despite his shooting radar being way off target. It’s been a really awful season for him so far but if he can stay fit then I think he will have a big impact in the closing weeks of the season.
There’s no doubt that Emmanuel Adebayor has done a stellar job and the likes of Eduardo da Silva and Nicklas Bendtner have filled in admirably but they are no substitute to having a fit van Persie in the side. He is, above all other Arsenal players, the one who can create something for nothing and in big matches against Manchester United and Chelsea his presence could make a huge difference. But only if – and it’s a big if – he can stay fit. I’ll be crossing my fingers, toes and anything else I can think of in the meantime.
One of the main reasons why van Persie can still make a difference in the hunt for both the Premiership and Champions League title is that the midfield combination of Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini has been so successful. While there is little doubt that last season’s central-midfield combination of Gilberto Silva and Fabregas did quite well there’s absolutely no doubt that the partnership that the little Spaniard and little Frenchman have forged this year has been even more effective. Indeed, it has been so good that the manager has proclaimed the pair as the best midfield partnership to play for Arsenal in his ten years of managing the club.
“Yes, this is the best partnership. Going forward they are technically good and very mobile. Before we had players with impact and now the players’ strength is in mobility. Maybe they are less physically strong in the challenge than Vieira and Petit but they have a good understanding and they cover each other well.”
Patrick Vieira was immense in his time, as was Emmanuel Petit, and the Vieira-Gilberto combination was able to get through an entire season, so that is an absolutely huge pat on the back for the boys from the manager. Is it correct? I’m not so sure.
In my decade-and-a-bit of supporting the club I’ve yet to see a central pairing work together as effectively as Fabregas and Flamini, yet I still think their partnership needs a little more longevity before I’d proclaim it as ‘the best’. However, the statement does speak volumes about the respect that the manager has for the pair and when you consider that Fabregas is only 20and Flamini just 24 there is still plenty of time for them to prove Wenger right.
In the meantime, is there a cool name we could give this best partnership ever? Flabregas? Fabmini? Flamergas? That last one sure sounds fiery. I like it.
That’s about it for today in a short but (hopefully) sweet post. I might take the opportunity to remind you all again that if you do enjoy the blog then I’d encourage you to subscribe via RSS feed for regular updates or sign up to the mailing list if you fancy it. It’s absolutely free and you can unsubscribe at any time if you do get sick of my ramblings. Cheers.
What do you think?
Have your say on van Persie’s return and the Fabregas-Flamini partnership by leaving a comment.