Stick or Twist – Robin Van Persie

Most points. Most expensive. Most captained. Second most owned. Most consistent (arguably). Merely a few attributes that makes this decision all the more crucial.

In the build up to Rafael’s stunning opener against QPR, RVP crashed into a TV Camera (of all the ways to get injured!) on the sidelines – and despite initially carrying on, looked uneasy and eventually made way for Danny Welbeck before half time.

In Fergie’s words:

“He collided with a camera. He hit the base of it and has a very bruised hip. I imagine it will be tender and sore for a few days but hopefully he will be all right, especially for the Madrid game.”

Reasons to Twist

Upcoming Man United Fixtures:

2nd [GW 28] – Norwich (H)
5th [Champions League] – Real Madrid (H)
[GW 29] – Potential blank

In Sir Alex’s interview above, where he emphasizes his hope on RVP being available for the Madrid game, suggests that the Dutchman could be wrapped up in soft cotton wool and rested for the Norwich game – especially with the Champions League tie hanging in the balance at 1-1.

With Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez all fully fit, one would think that Fergie would be foolish to risk RVP against Norwich.

The GW 29 Conundrum

And then there’s… Gameweek 29! Holy Moses (a very much underused term this season – watch him strike up some form now!), this could get insanely ugly with Man United, Chelsea, Man City, Everton and Arsenal all potentially having blanks. Yeah, true – but what’s this got to do with RVP you ask? Good question.

The thing is, the idea of letting the likes of Walcott, Evra, Zabaleta, Mata etc go for basically one gameweek just so you can attempt to field 11 players for GW 29 seems a little short sighted. These players provide an assured outlet and the majority of these teams have good fixtures to follow. Plus it would be a complete mess to sell them for one week and get them a few weeks later.

Then there’s RVP who unlike these players is probably going to miss out on GW 28 as well. Two potential blanks for a 14m striker won’t sit well with managers. So what to do?

I don’t mean to alarm you but there’s a dim light bulb flashing over your head. No really, look!

RVP’s price tag (14m) is easily the most expensive in the game – sell the Dutchman and suddenly you get a chest load of money to play with!

Now look up again, the bulbs getting brighter!

You could get a striker who has a game on both GW 28 and 29 and maybe use the extra funds to upgrade your 5th midfielder – your Puncheon’s and Maloney’s (sudden urge to say Moses, don’t ask me why I keep bringing him up) to the likes of Bale or Snodgrass, or heck I’m feeling lucky, Shelvey!

At this point do yourselves a favour and turn off that darn light bulb.

Question is who to swap RVP for? The most obvious candidate in this case would have to be Luis Suarez. Great fixtures and form are on his side. Assured starts and always a deadly addition to any Fantasy team.

Daniel Sturridge is the cheaper alternative option with returns in every game he has played since joining Liverpool. Injuries and possible rest however makes the Uruguayan the preferred choice.

Following Southampton’s double back in GW 22, Rickie Lambert went a bit off the radar for many managers but attacking returns in his last 3 games means he’s in top form and a viable replacement. Other options include the likes of Steven Fletcher who has gone off the boil having drawn 4 blanks in a row but nevertheless with good short term fixtures he may deliver.

Reasons to Stick

Many of us have owned RVP for the majority of the season and have enjoyed his steady price hikes. By selling him, managers could stand to lose money on him especially if he plays against Norwich or you plan to buy him back soon.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, despite the incident RVP initially continued to play on (a good sign) and I suspect he may have been taken off as a simple precautionary measure. More evidence of this was that he joined the rest of the bench in the 2nd half and seemed to be in good spirits.

Last week he reiterated his desire to play in all of United’s games.

“Personally, I love to play all of the games. You get into a rhythm. I get used to having a game every three. I want to play against Reading [in the FA Cup] – I want to keep going, ­playing all of the games.”

Despite the 12 point gap United hold, Ferguson will be adamant on avoiding last season’s mistakes. Last week Southampton shocked City with a 3-1 win and Fergie shocked us just as much by fielding a full strength side against Everton – with the Madrid clash looming.

The corresponding fixture against Norwich resulted in a shock 1-0 loss. United will be keen to not let their lead slide before the Madrid game and so don’t be surprised if RVP starts against Norwich or perhaps the more likely possibility is he gets a small cameo at the end.

But hey, we all know he’s more than capable of coming off the bench and scoring as he proved last season with Arsenal and a couple times with United too.

The Final Word

Keep an eye on Sir Alex’s Press Conference to see if he gives any news on RVP but I suspect he won’t give away much, or if anything lead us on a false trail (like when he talked up Evans prior to the QPR game only to see him on the bench, burning many Fantasy Managers).

Also keep an eye out for confirmations of the GW 29 blanks as only Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal blanks are confirmed. Both Manchester clubs could have their games rescheduled to a midweek date thus keeping them in GW 29.

Regardless think long and hard before letting go of Van Persie but if ever there was a time to get rid of him this season it would probably be now. Your replacement has some massive boots to fill. Personally I don’t have a clue about what I’m going to do about the Dutchy, I guess I’ll just leave my decision late – yeah likes that’s going to help.

I’ll leave you with one final thought… seriously consider Moses in the future!