At Christmas, the superstar of the Premier League season was undoubtedly Manchester United’s main man Robin Van Persie.
He was scoring for fun: long-range and close-range goals; volleys; headers; important goals. You name it, he’d scored it. He was the key difference between United and their rivals Manchester City, and his last-minute free-kick against them in December was a big moment in the title battle.
However, in the last 10 games the Dutchman has failed find the back of the net, looking fatigued and slow in the last few weeks. His finishing was so good at one stage in the season you just knew he would score when the ball came his way, but now he looks lacking in confidence when key chance fall his way.
There is no doubt that Van Persie’s decline in form has affected United’s performances too. They are suddenly lacking an attacking threat without the 29-year-old in the awesome form he showed before 2013 rolled around. He has missed amazing chances in massive matches against Real Madrid and Chelsea of late, which has helped influence his side getting knocked out of both the Champions League and FA Cup.
With the Premier League title safely in United’s hands this campaign, Van Persie has an individual award to play for: the Premier League top scorer, or Golden Boot as it’s known. He currently stands three goals behind Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in the rankings, and if he is to stand a chance of beating the Uruguayan he needs to find his ‘A game’ sooner rather than later.
Catch up on all of Friday’s EURO qualification action, as two more teams have booked a ticket to France.
Spain 4-0 Luxembourg
Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla hadn’t scored a competitive goal for Spain in more than six years, but he scored twice today to help earn his country a berth in EURO 2016. Cazorla and Paco Alcacer scored all four goals for the Spanish, while Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas became Spain’s all-time leader in assists. However, both David Silva of Manchester City and Alvaro Morata of Juventus were forced off with injuries, with Morata’s looking to be serious.
Switzerland 7-0 San Marino
Switzerland led just 1-0 at halftime, but a six-goal second half which included three penalty kicks means the Swiss have secured qualification from Group E for EURO 2016. As expected, Switzerland dominated every aspect of the match against minnows San Marino, and Vladimir Petkovic’s side had seven different goalscorers.
[ MORE: Thursday’s EURO 2016 roundup — Northern Ireland qualify ]
England 2-0 Estonia
England remained perfect in Group E, taking their ninth win from nine matches today at Wembley. Theo Walcott‘s great scoring form from Arsenal carried over to the national side, opening the scoring just before halftime. In the second half, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy came on as a substitute and assisted to Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who made it 2-0. With a few minutes to play, Tottenham teenager Dele Alli got a short run in his England debut.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Macedonia 0-2 Ukraine
Slovakia 0-1 Belarus
Slovenia 1-1 Lithuania
Liechtenstein 0-2 Sweden
Moldova 1-2 Russia
Montenegro 2-3 Austria
After scoring five goals against Newcastle United, Sergio Aguero may have to wait a bit of time to get back to scoring in the Premier League.
The Manchester City striker lasted just 25 minutes in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier on Thursday, as he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury.
Aguero underwent testing in Argentina, and told the local media “I think I’m going to be out for a month.”
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Manchester City and Argentina teammate Nicolas Otamendi said Aguero was in tears in the dressing room, and some reports have penned the injury as a torn hamstring.
If Aguero were to be ruled out for a month, he would miss City’s Champions League clash vs. Sevilla, as well as the massive Manchester derby away at United on October 25.
To make matters worse for City supporters, David Silva was forced off after just ten minutes while playing for Spain today. Silva took a harsh challenge from behind, and hobbled off with what looked to be an ankle injury. If Silva’s injury ends up being more than just a knock, City could be without their two most important players in the attack.