Belfast Telegraph

How the stats add up for Robin van Persie and Manchester United

With Graham Luney

So Robin van Persie is back in business – and so are Manchester United.

The 30-year-old was back with a bang from his injury lay-off, scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Cardiff City on Tuesday night.

Football fans love statistics and RVP's give his manager David Moyes plenty of hope.

The Dutch striker's United record is a 70% win ratio when he plays, compared with 45% without.

On average, United record 2.2 points per game with van Persie on the field. When he is in the stands, their return is just 1.5.

So all United need to do is keep Van Persie fit and firing and they will qualify for the Champions League? – simple.

In reality, life is much more complicated than that.

Let's not forget that in United's nine defeats this season, Van Persie was involved in three of them.

Is Wayne Rooney equally or more important than his strike partner?

The Gunners fans who idolised Van Persie as the captain and talisman of their club hated to see him leave for United – but has it stopped the flood of goals at the Emirates?

Goals have come from all over the pitch as Arsenal are no longer reliant on one player to hit the back of the net for them.

Whereas van Persie's 30 league strikes carried Arsenal in the 2011-12 season, now their entire team seems to take turns sharing the goalscoring burden.

As Mark Twain observed: "There are lies, damned lies and statistics."

Belfast Telegraph

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