Earlier in the week, legendary Gunners striker Dennis Bergkamp suggested that fellow Dutchman Robin Van Persie was being played in the wrong role for Arsenal. He commented on how he shouldn’t be played as a centre-forward, instead saying that he would be better deployed as a support striker.
Arsène Wenger, on the other hand, does not share the same view. Asked about Bergkamp’s views at a recent press conference, he said “On the right, on the left, up front, behind the strikers, he can play everywhere, it’s as simple as that”. Indeed, he has been known to cut-in from the right to unleash arguably the best left-foot in football and this does seem to work with his national side at times. However, in the game against Sweden on Tuesday, he was given a free-role on that right side – one that some Gooners suggest he should be given at Arsenal – but failed to make much of an impact at all.
Wenger does seem to have a point when he commented, “In this position he has scored 26 goals in 32 games so you cannot say he’s in a bad position because the numbers go against you”. On top of this, his incredible record of scoring in 9 consecutive away matches also came when playing in this position. It does look like he has become more of a poacher inside the box than slamming them in from longer ranges like he used to.
Is Wenger right? The statistics do suggest as much, but would it help the rest of the team if he were to be played deeper?