Its been a while since Robin Van Persie walked off the pitch with his head held high up, but he was able to do that on Saturday after a great performance against Hull City. The Dutch forward finally scored his much needed goal against Hull in a routine 3-0 win at Old Trafford to announce his comeback.
The goal which Van Persie scored in the 66 minute was his first goal in over a month. The previous goal which he scored for the Reds was the last minute equaliser against Chelsea at Old Trafford on 26th October. That was a vital goal for the team to get their season started. But, this goal against Hull may not be of that stature as United virtually sealed the match with two first half strikes. Having said that this goal means a lot for the player.
After enduring a dream start to life at Old Trafford in his first season when he scored 31 goals under Sir Alex Ferguson, Van Persie had mixed fortunes last time around when he managed to put the ball into the net 18 times. Compared to his first campaign, the stats may not make a good reading, however Van Persie scored those in just 28 matches under David Moyes. Also the eighteen include a champions league hatrick against Olympiakos in helping the team overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit.
So when Van Gaal took charge as United manager, many believed the striker would flourish under his former national team boss, however Van Persie struggled to reach the heights he had previously promised. Prior to the weekend, the Dutchman managed to score only 3 goals in 11 matches for the Reds. He was heavily criticised by his manager for the poor showing against his former club Arsenal when the striker managed to touch the ball only 13 times in the game.
“Thirteen touches is too few for a striker and I want to improve that. But more importantly is how he is playing. It was a very bad game from him and that is why I changed him,” said Van Gaal by adding, “I had a striker (Mario Gomez) who touched the ball only nine times in a match.” So, many anticipated Van Persie to be dropped in the weekend but, the Dutch manager gave him another chance and the striker to his credit made the most of it.
He did not start in his usual number nine position but played in number ten behind Rooney. However, the Dutch captain teamed up with Rooney up front after Di Maria was taken off injured. Van Persie slowly started to get involved in the match and made some good runs into the box, like the one in the second half when he drifted away from the defenders to make the Hull keeper produce a magnificent save following his header from Carrick’s well timed cross. His link up play between Herera and Rooney was also pleasing in the eye.
Finally he made his first usual contribution to the team when he collected the ball from Herrera’s header to set up Rooney for United’s second. On 66th minute the boos which he was receiving lately from fans turned into wild celebrations as he scored a wondrous goal from just outside the box. Hence, when he was taken off for Falcao, Van Persie received a standing ovation in the stadium.
Speaking after the game, he said: “If you score a goal like that it gives you confidence and the team, and if I am really honest I needed that.” This goal may not turn Van Persie’s fortunes around but, it may give him huge confidence in getting back his lost form.
Image courtesy of mirror.co.uk