Keown: Why van Persie’s right foot makes life so hard for defenders
Written by Renzo on November 22, 2011 4:30
Left-footed or right-footed, the result is always the same. Arsenal’s Robin van Persie is by far the best striker in the English Premier League and according to former defender Martin Keown, there’s more to come.
Writing in his Daily Mail column, the Englishman underlined the fantastic performance of the Dutchman as he identified the second goal as the reason why the Arsenal striker improved so much when compared to a couple of years ago, a delicious chip with his right foot showing that he is now a complete striker, one who can score goals from any position and with both feet.
The 45-year old also said that the Dutchman was not 100% fit during last summer’s World Cup Finals, reason why his performance was not as good as expected, but he’s now back, faster, stronger and hungry for success.
On the 28-year old, Keown said:
Watching the exquisite finish by Robin van Persie for his second goal against Norwich, one thing stood out: he had scored again with his right foot.
I was still at Arsenal when he joined in 2004 and although he was always a great talent, he was very left-footed.
Arsene Wenger has said he is the most left-footed player he has ever worked with so it is quite an achievement that he has scored 11 goals with his right in 2011 – the same as in his other seven years at the club combined.
Every time I’ve seen him lately, I’ve noticed that his right foot has improved and I’m delighted for him because I and other people at the club had encouraged him to use it more.
It has become an extra weapon for him – as Norwich found to their cost when his delightful chip gave Arsenal their fifth successive Barclays Premier League victory.
He is trying things with his right foot that he would only have attempted with his left before, his chip against Sunderland which hit the bar being a good example.
That makes life so hard for defenders. In the past they knew he would come back inside to shoot, now they have no idea.
What makes him stand out is the improvisation in his finishing. He can score in so many different ways.
Just think of his goal from a narrow angle at home to Barcelona last season or the stunning mid-air strike against Charlton a few years ago.
He is so audacious and is taking even more gambles now because he is confident.
That comes from putting a run of games together. He had metatarsal and knee problems and takes a while to recover and get back to his best after an injury.
Now he is fit, we are seeing two main differences. Firstly, he is so much faster as he is fit enough to commit to runs time and time again.
He needs to be 100 per cent fit to use that pace and he wasn’t at the World Cup in 2010. Secondly, he is generating much more power.
Think of his hat-trick goal at Chelsea and how hard he hit the ball. He is now in full flow.