As a Liverpool fan, I wouldn’t normally write about other teams or players. However, the news today that Robin van Persie will not be signing a new contract at Arsenal (and so only has one year remaining on his current deal) set Twitter alight, so I thought I’d look up his Premier League statistics.
Whilst he was deservedly the PFA Player Of The Year for 2011/12, I was surprised to see how different his form and fitness was in the preceding years.
For instance, van Persie appeared in every one of Arsenal’s league games this season, yet in his previous seven campaigns he featured in just 58.6% of the matches, and never in more than 73.7% (28 games) in one season. Clearly his fitness has been an issue in the past.
Similarly, his goalscoring record in 2011/12 eclipsed anything he had achieved previously: thirty league goals this season, yet an average of only 9.4 per season for the Gunners prior to that. Whilst he scored a goal every 1.27 league appearances in 2011/12, he averaged one every 2.36 run-outs in the seven seasons prior; only around half as often, in other words.
Don’t get me wrong; Robin van Persie is a fine player, and will certainly score goals wherever he plays next. But he will be 29 in August, and has a history of injury problems, so if I were an Arsenal fan, I wouldn’t be too disheartened just yet.