Match Preview: Van Persie back on his old stomping ground

How are fans likely to greet former star?

Returning to a previous club with your new outfit can be a job that inspires or fills one with dread.  On one side there is all the adulation received by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham or Bryan Robson.  On the other side, the crowd’s response to the likes of Paul Ince, Carlos Tevez and Andrei Kanchelskis was vociferous in their disdain.  For all of these extremities, many ex-reds have come back and played without either level of attention being paid to them.  It is clear that the way in which they conducted themselves on leaving the club and how they have spoken about the club in their absence will be the key exponents in how they are treated.

Quite how this leaves the expected presence of one Robin Van Persie as he enters in the colours of Fenerbahce, remains to be seen.  United fans generally viewed him with a grudging respect as he led Arsenal to yet another triumphant fourth-place, year after year.  He stayed at the club, despite almost all of their main stars left around him, and conducted himself well away from the pitch.  He was seen as possessing a gifted left-foot, quickness of thought and a fiery temperament.  All qualities befitting that of a top class player.  As a captain, he was loved by their fans, but was no doubt left frustrated by the lack of return in terms of actual silverware.  The Wenger sides received many plaudits for their style of play, but the 2004/2005 FA Cup and Community Shield in that season’s opener seemed a poor return for a player of Van Persie’s quality.  Time was going by fast if he was ever to fulfil his ambitions.  This was further emphasised by a collection of serious injuries which left the player side-lined for extended periods during crucial times of the season.

Step forward Alex Ferguson.  Having seen his side lose to cross-town rivals, Manchester City, on the final day as a result of goal difference, the Scot decided that he had to act quickly.  It came as a surprise to many that the Dutchman decided to uproot sticks and head north.  Particularly, as many had anticipated that he would only move to the Blue side of the town.  Sir Alex convinced him that the club could wrestle back control and help him achieve his dreams.  His quotations about ‘listening to the little boy inside of him’ made many opposition fans sneer.  The boss could see his era of control coming to a close, however, and did not want to leave on a sour note.  RVP was going to be the man to claim the twentieth league title and he delivered.  From scoring on his full debut, to winners away against title rivals, Chelsea and Manchester City, to the league clinching hat-trick against Aston Villa.  His 25 goals helped create the seed of doubt in Wayne Rooney’s mind about his future, that led to him submitting a transfer request.

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It could only be onwards and upwards under the bright, exciting new manager right?  A brace in the Community Shield against Wigan and away in Swansea, suggested that.  It was clear that the level of respect for Moyes didn’t exist to same degree as it had with the previous manager.  The burst of goals that had fired the reds to the top in the previous campaign, did not materialise.  The striker was out for spells due to injuries, but it was felt that he had downed tools to a certain extent.  His goals dried up as did his assists.  One of the few highlights of that dismal spell saw him net a hat-trick against Olympiacos to help the red devils squeeze through to the quarter-finals.  He still went into the 2014 World Cup as the focal point of the Dutch attack.

Their manager?  One Louis Van Gaal, who went to replace the hapless Scot at Old Trafford.

Surely his fellow compatriot could bring about an upturn in form?  Unfortunately not.  In-and-out of the side, due to new arrivals and more injuries, his goals record worsened.  Much was expected from the former Colombian hot-shot, Radamal Falcao, and he often played in place of him.  The inevitable parting of the ways took place following the season’s conclusion and he moved to Turkey.  His departure, along with that of Javier Hernandez and Falcao, was widely discussed at the time.  Even if he wasn’t playing all the games, he could be a dangerous option from the bench.  Most fans realised that his pace and potency was dulled.  If he had serious aims to stay at the top level, Turkey was not the league in which to operate in.

He will probably get a decent reception when his name is called out.  His debut season will ensure that.  There will not be many clamouring for his re-signing though.  A sporadic first season for Fener saw them reach the domestic cup final and secure second place.  His contribution came in fits and starts.  This time around, action has mainly come from the bench, in a stuttering campaign.  One goal in the league, and none in Europe, will make many believe that his best days are behind him. Let’s just hope he isn’t presented with an opportunity to prove everyone wrong.


More Stories Arsenal David Moyes Europa League Fenerbahce Holland Old Trafford Robin van Persie Sir Alex Fergsuon