For most Premier League strikers, a goalscoring ratio of one in two after only seven games of the season is hardly one that would constitute a crisis. But Robin Van Persie is not like most Premier League strikers.
The Manchester United forward finished top of the goalscoring charts on 26 goals in 38 games last season, but has so far failed to repeat the same sort of form that saw him fire his side to a 20th league title – having gone three United games without a goal.
Despite bagging a brace on an opening day 4-1 victory over Swansea, Van Persie’s inability to quite fire on all cylinders since has proven worryingly symptomatic of United’s inconsistent start to David Moyes’ reign as Old Trafford boss.
But while they lie in ninth place after only three wins from seven, they are only six points from top spot. On a similar note, Van Persie is just a hat-trick away from Daniel Sturridge, who leads the top scorers chart on six. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of United and Van Persie’s demise could well have been greatly exaggerated.
Particularly if the Dutchman’s international form is anything to go by. Despite being a doubt with a toe injury, Van Persie banged in a hat-trick in under an hour in an 8-1 victory over Hungary on Friday, overtaking Patrick Kluivert’s 40-goal Dutch record in the process.
Kluivert is now assistant boss for the Oranje and was on hand to congratulate the striker upon completion of his record-breaking hat-trick, and with Holland having already secured a place in Brazil, Van Persie is unlikely to be risked in their final qualifying game in Turkey on Tuesday.
It means Van Persie should be fully fit for United’s home game against Southampton next weekend, and with the Dutch record sewn up and another hat-trick under his belt, the former Arsenal man should be backed to return to goalscoring ways in the Premier League, and inspire the obligatory United backlash.
He came through a similar drought last season to finish ahead of Suarez and co, and can be backed at 9/2 to do the same again this campaign. Current leader Sturridge is 7/1 to finish in this position come May while his Liverpool strike partner Luis Suarez, last season’s runner-up, is 5/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.