Premier League Bootroom: Robin Van Persie dare not fail at Manchester United – Martin Keown

Bootroom: Van Persie dare not fail at Manchester United



22:07 GMT, 14 September 2012

Robin van Persie saw Arsenal's performance at Anfield two weeks ago and used it to motivate himself at Southampton.

Their display against Liverpool was probably the best I've seen from them in four or five years. Van Persie will have digested the result and considered for a moment if he had made the right choice in leaving.

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Three and easy: Van Persie bagged a hat-trick last tine out for Manchester United

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He will have seen the service Lukas
Podolski and Olivier Giroud are getting from Santiago Cazorla and
wondered if he had left just as Arsenal were clicking.

Winning so well
at Anfield a week after the champions went there and struggled is
impressive. It’s early days but it is possible that they could challenge
for the title.

Van Persie knows he must not fail at Manchester United. He left Arsenal because he wanted to win trophies and it will be unthinkable for him if Arsenal win one this season and United don’t.

It must be a massive motivation for him and it showed against Southampton. Having missed a penalty, he could see the negative headlines. So he had to make amends. He’s taken responsibility for his team already because of his personal mission to win something. He has to make sure he’s scoring and that his team are winning and doing better than Arsenal.

Van Persie looks like an inspired signing for United, who have bought the finished article, the outstanding player in the Premier League last season. If he hadn’t been there in the last two games, they would have struggled.

People used to goad the Arsenal fans by saying they were a one-man team but Manchester United don’t look much different.

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It's unusual for a new signing to
start so well — normally there is more of a bedding- in period. But he
was in such a rich vein of form that the switch doesn’t matter.

He’s clearly enjoying playing with Paul Scholes. Wayne Rooney has been the United talisman since Cristiano Ronaldo left and you don’t ever want him out injured. But Van Persie’s presence means his absence is not a crisis.

Not many players who have left
Arsenal in their prime have gone on to be hugely successful. Think of
Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Alex Hleb. But Van Persie will want to
emulate Patrick Vieira, who also left at 29 and won a host of trophies
in Italy.


Manchester City can expect an aerial bombardment from Peter Crouch and Stoke, but they are well equipped to deal with it.

When you look at the starting XIs for the last round of fixtures (right), you can see they are one of the biggest teams in the Premier League with six players over 6ft: Joe Hart (6ft 5in), Vincent Kompany (6ft 4in), Joleon Lescott (6ft 2in), Aleksandar Kolarov (6ft 1in), Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko (6ft 3in).


There is so much riding on the game at Loftus Road between QPR and Chelsea after what happened between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand last season.

Chelsea have started well but they did last season, too, and then unravelled after the defeat at QPR. They need to avoid a repeat. More importantly, it is vital that everyone involved — players, staff, fans — should treat each other with respect.

We should be talking about football after the game, not another unsavoury incident. The players must set the right tone, even though passions will, as ever, be running high for a local derby.

Bootroom: The weekend's matches

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