Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Posts Tagged ‘Robin van Persie’

Nigel de Jong and central cohesive sources of stability

Posted by hakanrylander on February 6, 2012

It has been reported that Nigel de Jong has rejected a contract extension at Manchester City that would have given him a raise from £75,000 to £100,000 per week. Apparently de Jong and his agent believe he is worth more. A poor decision I would think. I can’t see any other club paying him more. De Jong is a decent player, but I certainly wouldn’t place him in the select group of players that are so central to their teams’ success that they are worthy of extraordinary salaries. But he set me thinking about which players in the PL at the moment really belong in this group.

In the case of United my list includes just two names; Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic (out for the season). Nani is too inconsistent, Ferdinand somewhat past it and Jones not there yet (but he will be). In the other top-six clubs there are also two players in each team who stand out.

Arsenal: Van Persie, Wilshere (out for the season?)

Spurs: Modric, Bale

Chelsea: Terry, Essien (when back to full fitness)

Liverpool: Gerrard, Suarez

But there is one exception. I have to admit that I put four Manchester City players in this category: Hart, Kompany, Yaya and Silva. All of them have been consistent sources of skill and stability this season. So at least in this particular respect I give City an edge over their main rivals. Enough to win them the title?

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Arsenal begin to look a formidable obstacle

Posted by hakanrylander on February 21, 2011

Last week’s CL encounter between Arsenal and Barcelona was an absolute delight to watch for any neutral observer. It also confirmed that Arsenal in the last few months have developed into a more formidable obstacle to our domestic (and maybe even international) ambitions. There are three main reasons for this:

-Robin Van Persie is back to full form and fitness. That’s a big difference from last season.

-The squad is probably stronger than ever in depth, with players like Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin and Chamakh not able to get into the first XI.

-And, most importantly, they seem to have acquired a steely quality that has often been missing. They kept going against Barcelona despite being played off the park in the first half, and came back to turn the game around.

We will face Arsenal in the FA-cup (if they overcome Leyton Orient) on Saturday 12 March and in the PL on Saturday 30 April. Two games that might define our season, and to really look forward to.

For in-depth analysis of Arsenal tactics and formations, look no further than Arsenal Column.

Posted in Manchester United, Previews | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

The unofficial transfer window shopping list

Posted by hakanrylander on June 22, 2009

 United are about to receive £80m for Ronaldo and are therefore linked with just about every top class player in Europe and their dogs. Some of the suggested signings are very tempting but totally unrealistic (e.g. Essien and Torres) while in other cases the fees quoted are very fanciful (Ribery).

The Between The Lines shopping list stays away from the most expensive options and contains just three names:

Micah Richards. Probably the most talented young defender/midfielder in England. Hasn’t played to his potential during the last two seasons but it would be very interesting to see him develop under Ferguson. Could play in central defence or at right-back, but I see him as a future holding midfielder, “the next Patrick Vieira”. Tops my shopping list if indeed City, as rumoured, are stupid enough to sell him.

Robin van Persie. Reports claim that he’s unhappy with the level of ambition at Arsenal. Very skilful and mobile and would work wonderfully with Rooney or Berbatov or both. A bit injury-prone but worth a gamble.

Antonio Valenicia. Impressed me a lot as man-of-the-match against United in January. A fast and direct winger/midfielder who eschewes fancy footwork but can make it look very easy to get past a full-back. Some think he’s overpriced at £18m. I don’t agree.

Posted in Transfer Gossip, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »