“Because he[RvP] is one of the best no10’s in the world” – Van Marwijk.
The Dutch national manager Bert van Marwijk opted to play RvP behind the striker, in the no10 position, against Portugal last Sunday. He was desperate to turn things round and for once he gave in to the strong calls in Holland to play Huntelaar, the Bundeslega top scorer, and RvP, the PL top scorer, together up front.
It was a daring decision to put RvP in the no10 position. Holland has a few players who believe it is their god-given right to play there, and can become very disruptive if they are being played elsewhere, or even worse, being placed on the bench. During the last World Cup, the likes of Sneijder and van de Vaart have competed aggressively and publicly over who should play in the position that is simply the Holy Grail for any aspiring Dutch attacking footballer.
When Van Marwijk was challenged during a press conference over the debacle against Portugal – the third game they lost in succession, meaning they had to leave the tournament with nil points, after setting themselves the highest possible target – the journalists were keen to find out why the manager had opted for Robin van Persie in the hole position, at such a crucial game. Van Marwijk’s answer was typically short and to the point: “Because he is one of the best no10’s in the world”.
Robin van Persie might have been chosen for the no10 position by the manager, but that does not mean anything; so it appeared. He got no service whatsoever, despite making himself available continuously. Van Marwijk also played Sneijder (left midfield) and vd Vaart (central midfield) and it was simply asking for trouble. The Dutch team had no shape, except for the first twenty minutes or so, and there was hardly any cooperation, desire to make the runs, to close down, or to simply work for each other.
An utter disgrace and I feel truly sorry for the likes of Van Bommel and Matthijsen who now lost out on their last chance to win a major tournament with their national team. Van Bommel has been the physical and mental glue for the Dutch national team in the last few years, but he simply could not drive the team forward anymore; with very dire consequences.
I am sure we will hear more on this in the next few weeks, but I wonder what our Boy Wonder is thinking about it all at the moment. I reckon he will be gutted as this was a golden opportunity for the Dutch team, and him, to win a major trophy. The Dutch will have to rebuild now and it could take another twenty years before they reach a final of a major tournament again.
What is an exciting thought, though, is whether Robin van Persie is indeed one of the best no10’s in the world.
Dennis Bergkamp has said on a few occasions that the ‘Shadow Striker’ position would be ideal for RvP. It looks like Giroud has been bought by Arsenal, and he would be a welcome addition to the earlier purchase of Podolski. And if so, two new strikers of good quality will have been added to the squad. They are the sort of players who should fit in straightaway and can make a real difference.
Apparently, Arsène believes Podolksi, Giroud and RvP can play together up front, and as per LB’s post a few days ago, this would leave us with an embarrassment of riches in our attacking positions. How is Arsene going to fit in the likes of RvP, Podolski, Giroud, Theo, Arshavin, Gervinho, Chamakh, Park, Vela, Ryo, Campbell, and the Ox?
So, there can be no doubt that a number of the above players will be sold or loaned out before the end of the transfer window.
For a long time, I was convinced that RvP was going to stay at Arsenal. But the lack of clarity after his ‘informal’ meeting with Arsene and Gazidis before the Euros, has made me doubt again my earlier optimism.
Clearly, the meeting between them is, and might always be, a black box for us. But if we take the premise that RvP indeed loves Arsenal, and would like to stay if he feels the club has done enough in the transfer window this summer to be a serious competitor for the title and Champions League, would the offer to Robin to play in the Nr10 position not be a major selling point – the icing on the cake? I think it would.
And with him moving into the hole position, Arsenal need two proven strikers for the 50+ games we will play, in order to cover adequately for suspensions and injuries. The likes of Park and Chamakh have not convinced since they joined us and Theo, Vela and Campbell are probably not (yet) of the quality required to really make the top striker position a great success next season.
It seems conceivable that RvP will have asked for proven quality additions, and in Podolski and Giroud Arsenal have just done that.
Of course, there is still a good chance that Arsenal have simply been more pro-active this summer and that Giroud and the Pod are direct replacements for RvP and Chamakh, but I don’t want to think like that, yet.
The thing is, RvP did not just become our top goal scorer last season, but as a captain he has also injected a new spirit; a new culture into the team. This would be very hard to replace and I just cannot imagine Arsene taking it lightly. If RvP leaves we would be in another transitional year again, and we would run the serious risk of becoming a club in perpetual transition. I believe Wenger is a very ambitious man and is fully aware he needs to start holding on to his top players, if he ever is going to win something again. I also feel the club has entered a new (financial) era now.
That’s why I believe RvP will not (be allowed to) go this summer, even if he does not sign a new contract. Even the BoD will realise that cashing in on RvP will not be a wise decision this time round.
It seems to me very likely that RvP will be played in the shadow striker position next season. It will be interesting to see whether Arsenal will play 4-2-1-3 again or whether we go for 4-4-2 next season.
The latter formation might suit RvP more as I don’t think he is a natural playmaker, with great overview and in possession of an array of deadly through-ball skills. He is neither a Dennis Bergkamp type of player, nor a Cesc Fabregas type, and I think he will be a nr10 player ala Rooney at Manchester United (in terms of type of player), but only better of course LOL!
He would be absolutely deadly in that position and we would significantly improve our tally of goals from outside the box next season. He would also be closer to the midfield and therefore better able to captain his team.
I would love to see RvP in the nr10 position and I believe Van Marwijk is a top quality manager, who has a close relationship with our captain. If he thinks RvP is one of the best no10’s in the world, then I am not going to disagree with him.
And I think it is all part of a master plan by Wenger to keep our Boy Wonder happy and hungry at our beloved Arsenal next season.