Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where Do Cesc And Robin Go From Here? (Part 2)

Robin van Persie has yet to have his moment in the sun. The only trophy he's won in his career since his move to Arsenal was an FA Cup in 2005. Many regard him as a player who shows brilliance whenever he gets his chance. The problem is that he doesn't get enough of a chance to show us what he can do over the course of a season. In his 6 years at Arsenal FC, he's never played a full season and it's all due to him picking up some serious injury somewhere along the line. He's always been on the brink of doing what he needs to do to prove to the world that he is a world class striker but misfortune always holds him back from accomplishing this. One thing he should be given credit for is that he knows this and he's frank enough to admit that he's not quite where he should be yet and he knows what's needed in order for him to accomplish this:
I can feel that the manager (Wenger) has faith in me, but I must remain lucid. I am clearly not in the same league as Leo (Messi). Moreover, I am injured too often. I'm dreaming about a season with 30 goals and 20 assists. Wenger knows that I can do it, but my body will have to hold on.
If he had won the World Cup, he would've added the grandest title of all to his resume and that would've helped him to establish himself in world football as a winner and someone who's performed on the biggest stage of them all and been successful. Sadly it wasn't to be and the anguish of coming so close but being still so far away from it was plain to see on his face after the match.

Most Arsenal fans (who aren't Dutch) probably first got excited that Cesc is now a World Cup winner but I on the other hand initially thought "poor Robin, he really deserved this and it's a shame he's gonna have to wait at least another 4 years". I wasn't the only one though. Cesc also admitted that he felt some remorse seeing a desolate figure in van Persie after the final on Sunday. He says:
The first thing I did was go to Robin. I had to go there instead of celebrating with my friends because he deserved it as well. He was injured for a long time and if it wasn't us that he was playing against I would be on his side. Even though I was really happy, I was sad for him.I really hope he has his chance again in two or four years. He is a great guy and a great leader.
Club football aside, Robin's best chance at a trophy is in 2 years time at the European Championship in Poland. You'd think the core of the Dutch team will remain the same and he'll still be their preferred starting target man. It represents his best chance at international glory because I think it would be a stretch to think Holland will win the 2014 World Cup. Apart from that, his role in the team might not be a certainty at that time. He'll be 30 years old in 2014 and he'll face competition from younger strikers coming through the Dutch set up so that makes it much more difficult for him to not only get into the 2014 squad, (if they qualify for Brazil, which is a whole other matter) but to start consistently enough to influence any success they could have there. In order to prove himself as still able to compete at this level for Holland, he'll need to be consistently good for Arsenal over the next 4 years.

Consistency is not something you have to worry about when it comes to Robin van Persie, provided he stays away from injuries. He's one of the most driven players in our team. You could even say he's fixated on winning a major trophy, as it's been 8 years since his UEFA Cup win with Feyenoord and 5 since his FA Cup win with Arsenal. His quotes in an interview with The Guardian last year backs that up:
My ambitions are very, very high and, I think, realistic. I want to be at a level where, as a club, we are winning things, not just every four or five years, but one or two trophies each year. That's what I think this club has in its pocket. I have won the Uefa Cup with Feyenoord and the FA Cup with ­Arsenal. I saw what it did to people in our big family – the fans and the whole club – and it makes life a lot easier. Some people might think my view is extreme, but that is what I want, and I want to do it here. I am not a guy who gives up. ­Otherwise I wouldn't be here.
It's quotes like those why I'm sure he'll be itching to get back on the pitch as soon as possible for Arsenal and right the wrongs of him not achieving major football success in many years. Finishing as a runner up in the World Cup will only spur him on to push harder for success with Arsenal in the forth coming season. While it's sad that he didn't taste victory on Sunday, for Arsenal it's gonna prove to be a good thing as we have a player who'll be hell bent on proving a point to himself and his critics next season.

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