How Robin van Persie can fit into Manchester United’s successful current lineup

Manchester United have won every Barclays Premier League match that they have played this season without Dutch striker Robin van Persie.

This impressive fact, stated in an article on the Daily Star, is rather daunting to Manchester United supporters. This report suggests that Robin van Persie will be fit in time for the Manchester derby against rival club Manchester City. This season, Manchester United have struggled to find a real solution to the striker dilemma with Radamel Falcao, James Wilson and Robin van Persie. Prior to his injury, the Dutchman led the team with nine goals. He was soon overtaken by captain Wayne Rooney, who has been playing up top in the current formation for United. As of now, the formation is set up to be a 4-1-4-1, which changes throughout each game to variations of a 4-3-3. In these formations, Rooney has been successfully playing as the centre-forward, and he is enjoying it too. The captain said:

“When you play as a centre-forward you want to score goals, so I’m pleased I’m doing that. Midfield is a role I know I can play, but as a centre-forward your job is to try to score goals. Thankfully, I’ve gone back up front and I’m doing that.”

As Van Persie comes back into the roster, the looming question still is, where does the Dutchman fit in? Answers will vary. If Louis van Gaal wants to start the Dutchman in his first game back from injury, he will have a difficult decision to make. Van Gaal would have to put an in-form Wayne Rooney into a midfield that has been solid in recent matches. The manager cannot afford to drop Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and/or Juan Mata, who have been vital in recent weeks including the 2-1 win at Anfield on the 22nd March. However, it is an international break, and hopefully none of the players playing with their national sides get injured before the next match against Aston Villa, and more importantly, before the derby. If an attacking player were to get injured on international duty, Robin van Persie would be a suitable replacement by the time of the derby on the 12th April.

The obvious position that van Persie would play in is centre-forward. Wayne Rooney can drop back into the midfield, but with his current form, he needs to remain up top as a striker. Starting Van Persie against a strong side like Manchester City in his first game back would be risky. His last Premier League match was against Swansea City on the 21st February, so he will not have been on the pitch for more than a month prior to his next possible match. Van Persie could be utilized as a substitute if United need to bring on a striker at any point in the match. At the moment, the best option for the utilisation of Robin van Persie is as a substitute to bring off of the bench and work his way back into the starting lineup.

Van Persie’s return will be a massive boost for Louis van Gaal’s side, but it won’t be an easy transition for the striker as the current team is playing arguably the best it has all season.


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