Arsenal’s Century Club – Robin van Persie

May 8, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Robin van Persie sits at number 13.

Robin van Persie was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The son of two artists, he was encouraged to follow in his parents’ footsteps, but he preferred football.

He joined Dutch side SBV Excelsior’s youth squad at the age of 14 years, but left at the age of 15 and signed for Feyenoord. He was quickly promoted into the first team due to injury problems among the squad, and made his debut for the club at 17, which was the first of 15 total starts. He received the KNVB Best Young Talent award at the end of the 2001–02 season and then signed a professional three-and-a-half-year contract the following season.

Clashes with his manager Bert van Marwijk saw him demoted to the reserve squad, he finished his tumultuous debut season on the first team, making a total of 28 appearances and scoring eight goals, in addition to finishing runner-up in the KNVB Cup. Feyenoord unsuccessfully attempted to extend his contract during the off-season. His deteriorating relationship with van Marwijk led to his spending most of the 2003–04 season on the bench. He again played 28 matches, but finished with two fewer goals than the previous season.

Unveiling at Highbury

On 17 May 2004, Robin signed a four-year deal with Arsenal for £2.75 million, just over half of Feyenoord’s original asking price of £5 million. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, who planned to convert him from a left winger to a centre forward, said of his new acquisition, “He can play on the left side of midfield, as a creative player behind the main strikers or as a target man. Robin spent most of his time on the bench during earlier parts of the 2004–05 season, and made his competitive debut on 27 October by scoring Arsenal’s opening goal in a 2–1 League Cup win over Manchester City.

He was sent off for the first time, in an Arsenal shirt, on 26 February against Southampton, following a lunge at left back Graeme Le Saux, for which Wenger was seen yelling an obscenity at him from the sidelines. He then later lambasted him in the press stating “I do not support Van Persie today” Telegraph sportswriter Clive White described Van Persie in his match report as “21 going on nine.” He was consequently benched for a number of games, starting with Arsenal’s FA Cup replay against Sheffield United, and he was reintroduced into the squad only after Henry was out with a calf injury, his return to the first team saw him score twice in a FA Cup semi-final win over Blackburn Rovers. The rest of his season was cut short by injury, and he finished with ten goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.

Robin’s good form at the start of the 2005–06 season earned him the Player of the Month award for November 2005 after eight goals in eight starts, and he was rewarded with a five-year contract extension until 2011. Two days after signing the contract, however, he was once again hit by injury when an opponent stepped on his foot and broke his toe during an FA Cup match.

The beginning of the 2006–07 season included an airborne volley against Charlton Athletic that Arsene called “the goal of a lifetime” and he was later named BBC Sport’s Goal of the Month for September, and he capped off the calendar year by being named the 2006 Rotterdam Sportsman of the Year. His season, however, ended early for the second time in his career on 21 January, when he fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

After the departure of Thierry Henry he assumed the role as Arsenal’s main striker. Following a streak of seven goals in ten regular-season games, he was sidelined for two months with a knee injury suffered on international duty. He made his comeback in Arsenal’s Champions League group stage on 12 December and made his Premier League return in the win against Chelsea over the weekend. However, he picked up a recurrent injury that kept him sidelined until January when he played 45 minutes in a League Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur. He was withdrawn at half-time following another injury scare and featured sporadically throughout the rest of the campaign. The following season (2008–09) he was named as the Arsenal.com Player of the Season.

With only one year remaining of his contract, it was announced in July that he had signed a new long-term contract with his club, stating, “My heart is with Arsenal and I just can’t picture myself in a different shirt.”

On 14 November 2009, he injured his ankle in an international friendly and was initially expected to be out for six weeks, but further tests showed that he would be out for five months. Before the start of the 2010–11 season, his squad number was changed to number 10. He made his 200th appearance in August but an ankle injury suffered in the game placed him on the sidelines once again. He returned as a substitute for Arsenal’s 0–1 defeat to Newcastle United on 7 November. On 1 January 2011, he scored his first goal of the season in a 3–0 away win over Birmingham City. On 15 January, he added two more goals to his tally in a comfortable 3–0 win over West Ham. This made him only the fourth Dutchman to reach 50 goals in England’s top division.

Robin scored his first career hat-trick in a 3–0 win over Wigan Athletic on 22 January and two goals against Newcastle United in a 4–4 draw on 5 February. Continuing his fine form, he hit a brace the following week against Wolverhampton Wanderers scoring both Arsenal goals in a 2–0 win including a volley from inside the box. The ten goals he scored between 1 January and 12 February set a new Premier League record for most goals scored in the first two months of a calendar year.

He set the Emirates alight with a goal from an almost impossible angle in Arsenal’s fight back against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 which ended 2–1 in favour of the Gunners. On 27 February 2011, Van Persie captained Arsenal at Wembley Stadium in the League Cup final, scoring the first half equalizer for the Gunners. It was his first goal at Wembley and his first in a cup final for Arsenal. However, he was later taken off in the second half with a knee injury he picked up while scoring the goal. He was voted as the second best player of the 2010–11 season on Arsenal’s official website and also received the team’s Goal of the Season award for his audacious strike in the 2–1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League.

RvP celebrates the equaliser against Barca in February 2011 credit AFC.com

Having been appointed vice-captain for the 2010–11 season, he was promoted to club captain at the start of the 2011–12 season. He finished the season as the top goal-scorer in the Premier League with 30 goals, and became Arsenal’s 8th all-time top scorer with 132 goals.

On 4 July 2012, he announced that he would not be signing a new contract with Arsenal.

Finally after a series of rumours he was transferred to Manchester United for a reported £22.5 million. Supporters of Manchester United voted Van Persie as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for the 2012–13 season. He was transferred to Fenerbahce in 2015 before returning to his first senior club Feyenoord in January 2018. At both clubs, and in the dying embers of his career, he continued to score at nearly a goal every other game.

He owed so much to Arsene Wenger for converting him from left winger to centre forward (much in the same fashion as Thierry Henry) but repaid Wenger by deserting Arsenal Football Club after his best ever season of 2011/12.

His 100th goal was his 2nd of the game in a 2-0 win against Sunderland on Oct 16th, 2011 at Highbury.

GunnerN5


Why has it been so easy to say Goodbye to Sanchez?

March 14, 2018

Usually when one of our ‘star’ players leaves, it is painful to see them in another team’s strip. I’ve felt none of that angst when watching Sanchez play for the red mancs. Why?

Is it because he’s only scored one goal since moving?

Could it be that we knew he wanted to go to City and collect a Prem winners medal but had to accept the far less appealing move to a lesser team but for more money?

Or because he seems to have upset the balance of United’s side while stopping Martial and Rashford from playing in their best positions?

Maybe his need to constantly be the centre of attention by dropping into midfield and coming deep has ended up disrupting the mancs’ midfield?

Seeing the exasperated look on Maureen’s face is bound to soften the blow of the Chilean’s departure from North London.

The dog banner at the Emirates was all well and good in the Club’s attempts to make him feel wanted, but now that he’s gone, his canine obsession made so public seems a bit noncey.

Looking at it from the other angle, how has his move benefitted Arsenal FC?

Well, getting Micki in exchange seems a huge positive, as the boy looks an Arsenal player and his signing, I believe,  was also a key ingredient in the introduction of the next positive – Aubameyang.

Auba has been finding his feet since late January and the ridiculous Uefa ruling on his participation in the Europa Cup hasn’t helped. However three goals and the positive effect of being reunited with Mkhitaryan are plain to see. Next season could be good.

Reports of the dislike for Sanchez in the dressing room means that his leaving may have lifted the mood of the Arsenal players (though some of our recent results appear to belie that notion).  One thing’s for certain, the disruption caused by him not signing a contract extension needed to be ended (perhaps getting rid last summer would have been perfect but not being able to sign his replacement in Lemar from Monaco was a factor).

Maybe, it being relatively easy seeing Sanchez in a Chevrolet shirt, is down to the simple fact that we no longer invest emotionally in players because we know they are mercenaries, simply selling their services to the highest bidder?

What do you think? Maybe you’re still suffering the loss of your favourite player?

chas

 


Poll: Winners? Netherlands vs Mexico. Costa Rica vs Greece

June 29, 2014

First up, the Dutch with those fine upstanding gentlemen Robben, De Jong, Snejder and a chap with a happy child within against some valiant losers 😀

Could this be a game as exciting and engrossing as yesterdays first game? Does anyone think Mexico can take Holland to pens or even beat them? The poll will tell.

The Mexico goalkeeper has been outstanding but I fear he will need to be, Netherlands have pace, power and potency whereas Mexico are ageing. That said they have a great manager in Herrera and it will be an interesting tactical battle with some bloke who has been given the poisoned chalice of resurrecting the Mancs.

Netherlands for me.

Costa Rica vs Greece.  Both teams created a surprise by getting out of their groups. For Greece to be still in it whilst Italy, Spain, England, Ivory Coast and Portugal are watching from the couch is  ….. well, bewildering. They have such a negative attitude and quite frankly are a piss-poor side.  However, I am delighted for the people of Greece who  could use some cheering up!

Costa Rica topped the group with aplomb. They have a Gooner in their midst, I want them to win with a Campbell hat trick.

 


Vote: Should RvP Return?

March 13, 2014

Rumours are that Van Persie is going to leave that cesspit. Money and the chance to sate his inner child were the only reasons for leaving The Home of Football and now he has won his title he wants out. Should we resurrect his career?

Great players do not have to be great people (Shearer?) and RvP showed his true colours when shafting us just two summers ago. He had the chance to be an Arsenal great and have his own statue but instead took the 30 pieces of silver. This has coloured the way we look at him because he was,  let’s be honest,  fantastic in his final 2 seasons during which time he was the best striker in the PL if not the world.

Positives:

1. We need an additional striker; OG for all his talent cannot carry the attack. The loss of Theo has resulted in us not knowing whether they could really work in tandem as S&S do at Liverpool. Perhaps they can but given Theo’s proclivity for injury, we need back up.

2. RvP is almost at pension age and is doomed to the bench at MU, he needs a gig, perhaps he will accept less money.

3. He remains a wonderful, natural talent with the best left foot (and maybe right) in the PL.

4. Podolski, for all his Goonerdom, is not good enough for this team. He just hasn’t got a fast enough brain. RvP has.

5. Mr Wenger still has a fine relationship with RvP and looks upon him like a son.

Unknown

OK. Now why we shouldn’t buy him ….

1. He is a traitor

2. He is 31 in August.

3. He earns over £200k a week and has 2 years left on his MU contract – so we will have to buy him

4. He may not work well with a central striker like Giroud. It would require RvP to play off a CF, and we have plenty of number 10’s.

5. The players must have been very disappointed with his betrayal and he could cause problems in the dressing room.

6. He will never accept being a squad player.

My opinion is that we should let him rot in Manchester of try his luck at Galatasary (where old players with big names but no pace go before they play “soccer”.)

What do you think …..?

Written by BigRaddy


A week of highs and lows ….. pants up and pants down

February 21, 2014

Last Friday:

Snippets from Le Boss at his press conference; On the title race…“It is very open, only Chelsea can lose it because they are in front and all the other teams can win it.” on why every other manager says they are not contenders…“It’s fear to fail”. On Sagna’s future… “No, he is not close [to signing]. It’s an ongoing process.”

Although there were no injuries due to Wednesday’s game, Cazorla is a doubt as he is in bed with Flo. Oops! Sorry flu! 😀 Flamini is back from suspension and raring to go. Just don’t get carried away again Mathieu!

Thanks to http://www.arsenal.com/

Robin van Persie

could be set for a dramatic return to Arsenal at the end of the season after his agent reportedly met with Arsene Wenger to discuss a move. Van Persie, who forced a move to Manchester United last year, enjoyed a superb opening season at Old Trafford – firing the club to the Premier League title. But the Dutchman has reportedly become frustrated with life under new manager David Moyes, and is now angling for a switch back to Arsenal.

According to Sky Italia

Wenger met Van Persie’s representative in London late last month where it was made clear that Van Persie wants to leave United – and go back to the Gunners.

Saturday:

The Chav’s despicable motor-mouth manager made a totally unwarranted attack on Le Boss, I’ll not dignify his words by repeating them here. Suffice it to say he got his comeuppance when City duly dumped his team out of the FA Cup.

Plenty of speculation about priorities prior to our 5th round tie with Liverpool. There’s bound to be a few surprises in the team selection.

Sunday:

Speaking ahead of the game Wenger said….“We have a very strong defensive record yet when we crack, we crack, but overall I must say defensively we have been very consistent and the real value of the team is the number of games that we have played [to get] that defensive record. On that front we have had a good stability.”

Arsene named the following starting eleven…

Fabianski, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Flamini, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Podolski, Sanogo.

A closely fought match ended with a 2-1 win for the good guys, goals from the excellent Oxlade-Chamberlain, and a sweet strike from Podolski saw us through to a home quarter final tie against the other Scouse team Everton.

Liverpool manager Rodgers, along with most of the Liverpool pensioners masquerading as TV commentators, pundits and sports columnists bewailed the decision by top referee Howard Webb to deny Suarez a second penalty, for a challenge by The Ox. Perhaps if the Uruguayan striker had merely “gone to ground” instead of doing so only after a triple somersault with half pike Webb may have been tempted to award the penalty. Two Liverpool players were lucky to stay on the pitch, the carthorse formerly know as Gerrard, and Sterling. The former escaped with just one booking for two bookable offences and a series of debatable tackles, the latter who actually put his hand on Webb’s chest while complaining bitterly about a perceived wrong. The lenient Webb called over Captain Carthorse and told him to “talk” to the young winner.

One other match went decidedly in Arsenal’s favour when Le Boss politely but firmly put The Despicable One in his place following Saturday’s ridiculous outburst, “I do not want to go into those silly disrespectful remarks” said Wenger “I am embarrassed for him. Honestly. I am more disappointed for Chelsea than for me.”

Monday:

The Cup win is now in the past, the quarter final is to far in the future, looming is the small matter of current European Champions Bayern Munich.

Olivier Giroud showed a degreeCelia Kay 4
of naivety when he was caught in a tabloid sting, a “glamour” model Celia Kay “allegedly” entered his hotel room and the striker was photographed exiting the bathroom in his underwear. Giroud has publicly apologised to his wife, family and friends as well as to the manager, team-mates and Arsenal fans. Score a hat-trick on Wednesday Olly, and all will be forgiven….. at least by the manager, team-mates and Arsenal fans. Oh! In case you are wondering, this is what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich

The build up begins.

Wenger to make seven changes!

one headline screams. Well yes but, only to restore those players rested for the FA Cup tie and to replace the suspended Arteta.

Guardiola has problems as Ribery’s stand-in is ruled out!

yells another.

Pep Guardiola will be forced to reshuffle his attack against Arsenal after learning his Bayern Munich side would be without both Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri for the Champions League tie. Shaqiri tore a muscle in his right thigh on Saturday and is expected to be out for at least three weeks. That could mean he is also absent for the second leg of the last-16 game, which takes place in Munich on March 11.

The Balotelli rumours persist, another report say’s Talks are “ongoing” between the player’s agent and Arsenal. Meanwhile, the asking price has been dropped to just €40 million and with Puma willing to stump up £15 million towards the fee Super Mario is beginning to look like a bargain.

Wednesday:

A bright sunny day, at least it is here in Norfolk, a great game in prospect and endless speculation about the starting line-up. Will Giroud play? At home, not away! Will it be Wilshere or the Ox alongside Flamini?

As usual, the “experts” have written us off, as have the bookies, Ladbrokes quote 7/4 against a home win, 11/4 against a draw and 3 /4 on an away win.

In other news, Vermaelen’s agent has been quoted as saying our captain wants to leave the Emirates in the summer, That makes three defenders likely to depart, Sagna is no nearer to signing an extension and Fabianski has already signalled his exit. Injuries and loss of form have restricted TV to just a few appearances this season and last, so as long as Merts and Kos remain fit there seems little chance that Thomas will get much game time even when he regains fitness.

Sagna is out of contract in the summer and is free to “talk” to overseas clubs now. A report in Italy says Liverpool have made the player an offer in an attempt to poach Bacary from under the noses of Inter Milan. If this is the case then Liverpool stand accused of tapping up our right-back. Will UEFA do anything about it? Don’t hold your breath!!

Young right-back Hector Bellerin has been recalled from his loan spell at Watford and has been given the number 40 shirt and is currently listed as an Academy player. Sagna understudy?

Thursday:

Dream tie ends in nightmare for Wenger

Yes, as many of us secretly feared, our Champions League 1st leg tie with Bayern Munich turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. All seemed to be going well up to the point where Ozil’s weak attempt at beating Neuer, from the penalty spot, was comfortably saved by his former schoolmate.

That seemed to knock the stuffing out of Arsenal and give momentum to Bayern. Gibbs went off injured, Szczesny clattered Robben and was rightly red-carded. Even though Alaba hit the outside of the post with the resulting penalty Bayern had their tales up and the wind in their sails.

Down to ten men Arsenal, with the exception of Ozil, put up a defensive performance only bettered by the occupants of The Alamo, but like those heroes from the past, eventually they succumbed to superior forces.

2 – 0 down going into the 2nd leg at The Allianz Arena, a repeat of last seasons second leg would see us having to win on penalties. Would Ozil take one? Should Ozil take one?

Arsenal at home to Sunderland tomorrow offers the chance of redemption. A win and the resulting three points will help to put the Bayern game on the back-burner, at least for a while.

Everything is ready for the unveiling of the Dennis Bergkamp statue. It will take place outside The Armoury at 11.30 am on Saturday, Dennis will also make an on-pitch appearance at half-time. I’d prefer him to play the second half, but we can’t have everything.

TWTWTW

Norfolk Gooner


Now We Can See How Much Damage Van Persie, Cesc and Nasri Did

December 2, 2013

I hope all those who’ve made a career out of knocking the Mighty Arsenal are taking a good look at the Premier League Table.

We’re as high as Nigella and as happy as Wayne Rooney in a bingo hall.

02

Not that I’m gloating… oh no… there’s a long way to go yet, it’s a marathon not a snickers etc etc.

But at the moment I think it’s fair to say that the squad is exceeding what most of us expected for this year.

The optimists among us hoped for a steady build on the defensive tightness and greater togetherness that steered us to fourth place in the second half of last season.

When we signed Mesut Ozil, maybe we dared to hope for a bit more.

But to be comfortably top of the table as we enter December? And to be nine points ahead of ManUre? And 10 ahead of the Tinies? I doubt any of us (apart from Terry Mancini Hair Transplant) would have wagered much on us doing so well.

Which raises the question of WHY?

Why have we shown not just incremental improvement on last season, but a genuine step change in confidence, quality and – most important of all – results?

There are many individual factors we can point to: the emergence of the Welsh Messi as the best player in the Premeirship; the exceptional form of our Pole In Goal; the precision of Ozil’s assist-making; the superb organization of our back four…

But I think Arsene Wenger gave us the real answer last week when he pointed out that this year, unlike the two previous years, we have not taken the Good Ship Arsenal on a new footballing voyage with a big hole below the waterline.

Le Boss said the clear difference this time round was that we did not lose a star player on the eve of the new campaign.

It meant we started out with the same group of players who had done so well from January to May – and threw a genuine superstar into the mix for good measure.

Contrast that with the two previous years.

The summer of 2012 was spent with Brave Sir Robin trying to pretend he was undecided about leaving but finally walking out on the club that paid his wages through so many interminable injury periods. The little boy inside him turned out to be an ungrateful little twunt.

Twelve months earlier we lost Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona (a move, admittedly, that came as a surprise to no-one); but then the unlikeable little Frenchman Samir Na$ri decided he wanted to line his wallet and started touting himself round  clubs with deep pockets, ending up at Petrodollar City.

Both those disrupted summers led directly to disjointed and disappointing starts to the new season. While other teams went off at a sprint, we set off on those season-long races with an open parachute strapped to our back.

We were forced to try and bed in new signings who, in most cases, were completely new to the Premier League; we had to work out new formations to suit the new personnel; we had to turn players from strangers into team mates and heaven only knows what psychological damage was done to the rest of the squad by the fact that our best players had made it clear they wanted out.

Somehow, miraculously, Arsene managed to maintain our membership of the Top Four club by the end of both seasons – but it was certainly no thanks to the Dear Departed.

And looking at how we’re doing now it makes me really angry about those players who left us in the lurch – yes, even Cesc (although BSR and Na$ri were more selfish, disloyal and narcissistic).

Van Persie and Nasri could have made their intentions clear to the club at the end of their last seasons with us. Their leavings would still have been a loss but at least the fans would not have been led a merry dance all summer long and the club and squad could have started rebuilding sooner.

I’m not suggesting we would have had glorious seasons if they had not left but – like Arsene – I feel we would have done a LOT better. We might have fallen short of winning the league, but we might well have been in the mix for longer instead of having to play catch-up with the skinny cock brigade.

The Arsenal revival we’re witnessing this year might have happened 12 months earlier. It’s the very success we’re enjoying now that highlights just what those players who left really cost us.

It’s naïve to expect players to show loyalty and I’m sure many fans take the view that if they want to go somewhere else for more money or a better chance of glory, who can blame them?

I can’t share that laissez faire view. I remain a dinosaur. I expect the adulation and support I give to the players to mean something, even in an age when the youth squad are driving Porsches and earning more in a month than most people do in a year.

And so Van Persie, Nasri, Fabregas: je t’accuse! YOU caused us to have disastrous starts to the past two seasons; YOU gave ammunition to the silly Wenger Out campaigners; YOU stopped us being in a position to fight for the big prizes; YOU hurt us. And WE won’t forget.

Although Cesc can come back if he wants 🙂

RockyLives


Why I’m Loving Van Persie Now

April 30, 2013

So the melodrama is over.

Brave Sir Robin returned to the club that stood faithfully by his side in sickness and in, er, more sickness.

He walked on to the pitch through a guard of honour. He got booed by most of the home supporters. He took a few kicks and gave a few kicks. He scored.

bsr

That’s it folks… all over, nothing to see here.

I still have mixed feelings about BSR. I completely understand why many fans are angry that he chose to leave (and that the club sold him to Manchester United, of all people).

But I also appreciate the great memories I have from the one proper season he gave us during his Arsenal career: all those “did you see that?” goals; all those volleyed finishes from Alex Song golf chips. It’s just a shame it turned out to be his last season with us.

Anyway, the dust has now settled on his return to The Home Of Football and we can get back to worrying about the important business of winning our final three games.

The problem is, it’s not as simple as that, is it?

We don’t just have to worry about our own games, we also worry about those of the teams competing with us for third and fourth spots in the Premier League.

And this is why I have decided to become a Robin lover again. It won’t be with the passion that I once had for him and I can guarantee it won’t be a long-lasting affair. In fact, it will be all over by 6pm on Sunday.

Because shortly before then the referee will have blown the final whistle to end Manchester United’s home fixture against Chelsea. And I am sincerely hoping that Brave Sir Robin, who has been in superb scoring form for two full seasons, will have done us an immense favour by banging home a hat trick against the Chavs.

If United beat Chelsea, it will give us some additional margin for error in our run in. Hopefully we won’t need that margin and we will spank QPR, Wigan and Newcastle in turn to guarantee a top four finish, but even then, it might make the difference between third and fourth place.

I hope that United will put in a proper amount of commitment and effort against Chelsea.

The Purple Conked Gorbalian has said that they will. He talked of “honouring” Chelsea’s rivals for the Champions League places by competing properly, but I have my doubts.

They have won the league already at a canter and, psychologically, I just can’t see them being as committed as they should be.

In fact, the “Van Persie returns to Arsenal for the first time since joining United” sideshow probably worked against us at the weekend. It fired up the crowd and added spice to the occasion.

Arsene Wenger said that our players started with such energy and bite because of the way they had prepared. That may be part of it, but I have no doubt that the heightened passion of the crowd also played a part.

It encouraged our boys to snap into tackles, win the second balls and harass United all over the pitch.

But if you start bullying people, eventually you’re likely to provoke a response. The United players, being the competitive people they are, could not help but be roused into fighting back eventually.

But when they entertain the Chavs it will be a very different matter. It will be a game played in front of a complacent home crowd who don’t really care what the result is. Many will have consumed a fair few drinks on the way up from Surrey and – if it’s a nice afternoon – will probably doze through the match.

Let’s face it, the place is hardly a hotbed of atmosphere at the best of times. If the Emirates is a library, Old Toilet is a mausoleum. Without the fun.

In other words, I wouldn‘t be at all surprised if Chelsea come away with all three points.

My only hope is that Brave Sir Robin himself, despite the abuse he received from his former worshipers on Sunday, will feel he owes it to us to try and help us get a top four place.

I hope that his friends in the Arsenal dressing room – the ones he was so eager to pop in and see after scoring against them at the weekend – have urged him to do his bit.

How ironic would it be if goals from Robin van Persie played a part in keeping us in the Champions League next year?

RockyLives