Manchester United could be boosted by the return of Robin van Persie before the derby clash with Manchester City, with Louis van Gaal confident that the striker will complete his recovery from injury prior to the April 12 meet.
Information in the Daily Mail today implies that the forward himself believes he can make that deadline despite the fact that he’s missed the last five matches due to the ankle ligament damage he picked up against Swansea City over a month ago.
Van Persie injury
The Dutch striker hasn’t been at his best so far this campaign despite the arrivals of countrymen Van Gaal and Daley Blind in the summer of 2014, but has previous concerning City, having scored a late winner at the Etihad Stadium during the last title-winning campaign for the Red Devils in 2013. On his day he’s a frontman to be universally feared and respected, and if Van Gaal has him at his disposal it will give United another option.
At the moment the 63-year-old is having to largely rely on a resurgent Wayne Rooney and a host of goals from midfielders, with Radamel Falcao not looking the part on English shores. The emerging James Wilson is another option within the squad but hasn’t yet found his scoring boots in the first-team and to have him lead the line against City would indicate a lack of options.
Importance of City clash
That’s a vibe Van Gaal will be desperate not to give off in a match that could go some way to deciding who ends up finishing second in the Premier League this season. At the moment United are just one point behind their bitter rivals, and if both sides continue to win games the clash at the Etihad will be the all-important fixture.
Since Chelsea are six points clear of City with a game in hand it looks highly unlikely that they will drop the points needed for others to catch them up, but even so a runners-up spot would be hugely impressive for United given how they started this season.
Furthermore the game could be of crucial importance for Van Persie, whose current deal at United ends next summer. At this rate it looks like he will either pen a new deal at the end of the season or be moved on, and unless he can rediscover his most potent form critics will lean towards the latter.
10 goals in 26 outings isn’t terrible by any Premier League forward’s standards, but it isn’t too impressive considering what Van Persie has done in the past. On top of that is the mounting pressure as Van Gaal seeks to restore United to their former glory, so questions will be asked until he’s either gone or back to his best.
United fans, do you think Van Persie should start against City? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments box below...