Villa Park

Next Game

A Villa v Arsenal

Saturday, 20 September 2014, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Signal Iduna Park

Last Game

B Dortmund 2 - 0 Arsenal

Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 19:45

Champions League Group D

Gunners fans should bury van Persie hatchet

TEAMtalk Editor Simon Wilkes believes it might be time for Arsenal fans to forgive Robin van Persie for leaving, even if they can't forget.

Last Updated: 27/04/13 at 11:47 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Had a 'positive impact' on van Persie

Arsene Wenger: Had a 'positive impact' on van Persie

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that his Arsenal players will form a guard of honour for Robin van Persie and Premier League champions Manchester United at The Emirates on Sunday - but it remains to be seen whether the club's fans are so respectful.

According to reports, this week has seen a social media campaign to 'do a Poznan' gather pace, with some Arsenal fans toying with the idea of turning their back on the congratulatory nod to United's 20th league crown.

But although I understand their bitterness at Van Persie's defection to the North-West, I'm hoping the majority of fans cheer their former captain, having got the jeers off their chest at Old Trafford earlier this season.

It appears that hope may be false if you listen to Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association chair Lois Langton, who said: "We have to give the guard of honour, as I don't want us to look as though we are being petty - but the reality is he will get a hot reception. He alienated himself from supporters."

Some fans will never forgive van Persie for joining United hot on the heels of the best season of his career - but I believe the fact the 29-year-old will return to the capital as a king of English football fully justifies his decision.

The Rotterdam-born Dutchman moved to London from Feyenoord for just £2.75million in 2004, and won the Community Shield and FA Cup in his first season under Wenger's tutelage.

The trophy cabinet has not been unlocked since, but van Persie should not bore the brunt of fans' frustration over the silverware drought, especially as he single-handedly dragged them into a third-placed finish in his final season with the club.

During an eight-year spell blessed with brilliance but also blighted by knee and ankle injuries, van Persie bagged 132 goals to become Arsenal's eighth all-time top-scorer.

He matched then overtook legend Dennis Bergkamp's haul, and after being promoted to captain following the sale of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, responded by netting 30 Premier League goals in the 2011-12 season.

I was at The Hawthorns on the last day of last season when he skippered the Gunners to a 3-2 win over West Brom to ensure they would dine at Europe's top table for another season - then waved goodbye to fans.

Although his choice of destination sent shockwaves around England, with a young family to consider, a switch abroad was never on the cards.

In my final defence of why fans should cheer, not jeer their former talisman, I'd like to state the case that Arsenal have not really suffered on the pitch since his exit - they have simply suffered the pain of strengthening one of their oldest enemies.

Last season, with van Persie blazing a trail, they finished third, 19 points behind United and champions Manchester City, having amassed 70 points from 21 wins and seven draws. They scored 74 goals in 38 games.

This season Wenger's men have accrued 63 points with four games remaining, facing United, QPR, Wigan and Newcastle in the final straight. They have won 19 games, drawn nine and scored 65 goals so far, so the chances are that they will better the class of 2011-12 in all departments.

Wenger has no axe to grind with his former protege, saying: "I think Arsenal had a positive impact on the life and career of Robin van Persie. You always miss a big player but now we are stabilised."

And having spent the £24million on Olivier Giroud (£13m) and Lukas Podolski (£11m), who have netted 31 goals between them and are likely to be more accustomed to England's top tier next season, I think it might be time for Arsenal fans to forgive van Persie, even if they can't forget.

Follow me on Twitter at @SimonJWilkes.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

riting a minute by minute account on Berbatov would be like chronicling the days of the guy punished for sloth in the movie Se7en. Day 4 - lay in bed, did nothing - 15th minute, stood there did nothing .

lustral
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

W

hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

sailingmagpie
Top Ten CL Players Whetting Our Appetite

W

ow Pete, you would make an excellent stalker!

fouloleron
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

Footer 365

Europa League: Everton boss Roberto Martinez delighted with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Roberto Martinez was delighted with Everton's display as they brushed aside Wolfsburg to win 4-1 in the Europa League.

Europa League: Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino hits out at Partizan banner

Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino was angered by the "unacceptable" anti-Semitic banner displayed by Partizan fans.

Europa League: Everton open Group H campaign with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Everton opened their Europa League Group H campaign with a convincing 4-1 win over Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.

Mail Box

Why Doesn't Rodgers Play Borini?

One Liverpool supporter thinks this could be Fabio Borini's year, whilst we also have thoughts on the Red Bulls, Welbeck vs Gervinho and Paul Lambert's new deal...

Could Arsenal Benefit From Top Four Exit?

That's one idea in the morning mailbox as the Arsene Wenger debate rumbles on. Plus, comparing Welbeck to Gervinho and some advice for Greg Dyke and the FA...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property