Robin van Persie still deserves Manchester United axe

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Manchester United striker Robin van Persie had done very little in recent weeks to warrant his surprise start against Hull City, while the number of half-decent performances he's produced over the past 18 months can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

But he scored his much-needed goal in the second half of Saturday's match against the Tigers and, in the eyes of some, suddenly everything is fine and dandy once again.

Anyone who has watched Van Persie closely in recent months, however, will tell you this is a player in terminal decline. His best years are firmly behind him and it'll take a lot more than a rocket against an utterly abysmal Hull City side to prove otherwise.

Over-the-top reaction

That goal bizarrely earned the Dutch striker a couple of Man of the Match awards from reputable newspapers, including the Guardian, which seems absurd given the overall disappointing manner of his performance. Yes, it was a slight improvement on his abject display against Arsenal last month - but the only way was up after that shocking performance, in which he touched the ball 13 times.

Another caveat is the fact Hull produced one of the most embarrassing displays of the season at the weekend. David de Gea could have sat down on his goal-line, watching an episode of Breaking Bad on his iPad and still would have finished the 90 minutes with his clean sheet intact.

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Falcao and Wilson

Surely it would have been more beneficial for Van Gaal to give Radamel Falcao a run out. The Colombian was in need of minutes and desperate to prove a point.

Perhaps Louis van Gaal felt Falcao and James Wilson were not quite ready to start for the Red Devils, in which case fair enough. But one of them must be given the nod in place of Van Persie for Tuesday night's match against Stoke City.

Just as one swallow does not a summer make, one wonder-goal does not equate to a good season - and it certainly doesn't mean an over-the-hill striker is suddenly back to his magnificent best.

Torres comparison

We could soon have another Fernando Torres situation on our hands if this continues. Every time the Spaniard scored for Chelsea, suddenly he was 'back'. But each time it proved to be nothing more than a false dawn.

Torres was finished - everyone knew it, but some needed more time than others to accept it.

Van Persie is finished at the very top level, too. This is a 31-year-old striker who was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson to win Manchester United the Premier League title after the humiliating way in which the club lost out to rivals Manchester City at the end of the 2011-12 campaign.

The £250,000-a-week Dutchman did his job - and in some style. Subsequently he will always occupy a special place in the hearts of Manchester United supporters for that remarkable 2012-13 season, but since then it's been all down-hill.

Time to move on

These days he's far too static, what pace he did possess has deserted him, his hold-up play has taken a massive nose-dive and he no longer strikes fear into the hearts of opposing defenders - which, incidentally, is precisely what both Falcao and Wilson can bring to the team.

There was always a real danger that Van Gaal would show some favouritism to Van Persie because of their existing relationship, but it's time for the Manchester United manager to put sentiment to one side.

Van Persie is part of Manchester United's past; Falcao and Wilson ought to be the present and future.

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Louis van Gaal
Robin Van Persie
James Wilson
Stoke City
Hull City
Manchester United
Premier League

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