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Rio vs RvP – Who Means More To Their Team?

Reports today suggest both Rio Ferdinand and Robin van Persie are set to play in tomorrow’s European Cup semi-final, following fears injuries would rule them out of the clash.

Whilst I’m very relieved that Rio is back in contention, following a nasty lung-bruising incident which saw him coughing up blood, I think I am more nervous about the return of van Persie. Whilst he carries that nasty bitch Dutch attitude, there is no denying the lad is total class and can be devastating on the pitch.

As we saw last week, Arsenal really didn’t have much to offer up front, with Arshavin cup-tied and Adebayor fitting his usually gangly and ineffective role. In his last two games at Old Trafford, he has deliberately used his hand twice in the box. On the first occasion it resulted in Arsenal’s only goal in their 2-1 defeat to us last season, which ultimately ended their title challenge and practically cemented ours, and on the second occasion, last Wednesday, resulted in just a free-kick. Given his booking in the quarter finals, Abebayor would now be missing the second leg had the referee followed the rule book. Anyway, that’s all by the by now, but we could see a more dangerous Adebayor, hopefully with feet rather than unpunished hands, alongside van Persie.

United have a more than able replacement for Rio in Jonny Evans, who has put in plenty of great performances for us so far this season when filling in at the back. But who do Arsenal have to fill van Persie’s boots?

I’m pleased Rio is about but I think van Persie will be a more crucial return to their team than our defender will be to ours.

What do you reckon?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. gotta hate tiny tears says:

    im saying rio been a united fan
    but robin for the arsenal fans id say

    but i think rio is because of the rvp factor now in the match

    it means united have the experience if the experience is needed

  2. spirit of 99 says:

    RVP is a class player. I’d be much more comfortable with Rio defending against RVP and that clown Adebayor. Either way, I see us scoring a goal or two. In fact I’d predict us a smooth 3-1 or 4-1 win.

  3. Chris says:

    As an Arsenal fan, i can safely say that van Persie is no mroe important than any other player. He is a great talent, but he is far too injury prone, he is inconsistent and has only scored three more goals than Bendtner.

    He is a myth in a way.

    In Arsenal’s best defensive month (February, did not concede a goal) van Persie managed just a penalty against Roma and was quite easily our worst player. But he won player of the month because Arsenal fans gush at the thought of him – even if he is not that great.

    I would have Eduardo, Arshavin or Bendtner ahead of him any day.

  4. rsr123 says:

    I’m an Arsenal fan and i say both of them are very important. Evans is decent but not as good ferdinand. Although RVP being fit will be a huge boost and hopefully will produce a bit of magic.

  5. Little Miss says:

    lol ‘unpunished hands’… couldn’t put it better myself!

  6. costas says:

    The god thing is that RVP’s first game back is against us so he might be a bit rusty.Both players are priceless for their clubs.I am very glad Rio is back but with RVP back you can bet that this game will be much more open now.Right now i am sweating on the fitness of Patrice.It’s never a good sign when you don’t train the day before the game.Gary Neville is back but i highly doubt he would start.

  7. ROME_09 says:

    Having Rio fit is crucial for us. It’s never really in doubt that we’ll score at least one goal and with Rio and Vidic playing together there is no chance that Arsenal are gonna score against us. Reckon an early goal is gonna be key, if we’re leading at half time id say just sub Rooney off and make sure he doesnt have one of his crazy moments and get carded. Alternatively, keep Rooney on the bench ?

  8. Dave in London says:

    I am a big fan of van Persie as a technical footballer, but the guy is utterly useless at times. I think he deserves one more season (unlike Adebayor) because he has scored a hell of a lot of goals compared to last year, but he has been injured again, he misses dozens of chances and he slows our play down.

    On form, he is fantastic, but he does not fit into any system.

    He cannot lead the line, he is not quick enough mentally to play in behind the striker, he is not compatable with any other striker and he cannot play on the shoulder.

    Eduardo, Walcott, Bendtner and Vela are the perfect blend of strikers.

  9. Jonny says:

    In an attacking sense, van Persie can make the difference for Arsenal. The system we played at Old Trafford was useless and left Adebayor isolated/ too deep, and we all know Ade can’t score from outside the box. RVP can link up, and, more importantly, is a great finisher.

  10. Swissdevil says:

    Ok, RvP is a good player…but I can’t stand him. In my eyes he’s an arrogant twat..
    Rio will take care of him and everything will be fine for us!

  11. Mark says:

    He is a top player (van Persie) but he is not very important to us.

  12. costas says:

    We might have to rethink our strategy too.Our 4-3-3 cancelled out their 4-3-3, but if they go with 4-4-2, we might not be able to hold them off.Someone from the midfield will have to be mindful of RVP when he drops off the attack so that Rio or Vidic aren’t forced to leave the defence.

  13. dan says:

    Im an Arsenal fan, and Robin is pretty important for us

  14. aqqe says:

    Considering Arsenals best creative talents arent available (Rosicky, Arshavin) then I say RVP is the most important of the two. With him Arsenal can play their 4-4-2 and put Cesc in the middle where he should be, with Nasri and Walcott on the wings. They’d be far more dangerous with RVP.

  15. stretfordendole says:

    it will be interesting, by some accounts Wenger changed his line-up when he saw the Utd team last week, he went more defensive, he can’t afford to do that tomorrow, but playing RVP upfront in a 442 leaves the midfield exposed and thus more space for Utd to counter.

    I don’t think that Arsenal playing 442 will bother us, we comfortably dominated their 5 man midfield with our 3 man on Weds, I’d expect that we will do the same on Tues.

  16. TheRedBaron says:

    I’d say we rather have Vida mark adebayor. Rio’ll be perfect for rvp. It seems with 442 the game won’t be the same as it was at OT, i think it’ll go down to the wire. Arsenal matches always do. I’m not being a cynic, but they have got the better of us at times when we least expect. They maybe a bunch of kids kicking it around but they can, on their day pack a fatal punch. That’s why i’m bloody glad rio’s back. He’ll be the difference we need. UNITED!!

  17. keanesmagichat says:

    both important

  18. lidija says:

    does not matter if rvp is back – we’ll be OK, like i said weeks ago – i’m getting ready for ROME

  19. alpha_rs says:

    I can’t believe what I’m reading from the Gooners.

    I think RVP is top class.
    I’ve seen him score some amazing goals for the Arsenal.
    I would have thought RVP, Adebayor, and Walcott would be a handful in 4-3-3?

  20. brdgunner says:

    This is why I like this blog. Its a good debate.

    I think RVP in this situation as we have other big players missing so we need him more. Had Arshavin, Rosicky and Eduardo been fit then Rio is more important to you than RVP is to us.

    Costa made a good point, Is Evra fit?

    Theo will be very dangerous should Evra not play.

    Whoever plays it will be a different game. I think we will win the game, but Im not sure if it will be by 2 clear goals.


  21. TheRedBaron says:

    I say a draw. And the Reds go marching on.

  22. King Eric says:

    Give Vidic the first ten minutes on RVP and after a couple of crunching tackles he will not want to know. Devastating on his day but not consistent.

  23. TheRedBaron says:

    I think we’re worrying a bit too much on van persie. There are other people too you know, i believe Cesc ‘The Gas’ Fabregas can be contained (I like how that sounds). Walcott may be a problem, n if he’s in for then RVP’ll be spoonfed balls, he won’t miss much. COME ON EVRA!

  24. Gooner says:


    I know what you mean. some of the twats who call themselves fans who spout their krap on the net. Some of them will never be happy unless we win a quintuple 5 seasons in a row.

    They cant just be happy with Robin van Persie. He needs to be Henry, Ade, Nistelrooy, Ronaldo all in one. Otherwise he’s useless (apparently).

    RvP is class. Just look at the Chelsea and Liverpool game. 3 pieces of sheer brilliance got us 4 points. Without him this season we would be in a lot more trouble than we are now.

  25. Mark (Arsenal fan) says:

    Nobody said RvP has to be anything. He is just not that great. Chris puts it best.

  26. SAGooner says:

    I agree, RVP is quality for us. He has that ability to score a goal from nothing. I would comfortably say Arshavin is our key player now at the Arsenal, but without him tomorrow RVP means so much more.

    Will be a great match up between RVP and Rio. I also think we will win tomorrow but not necessarily by the required two goals. In saying that a 1-0 win will do us good.

  27. Marq says:

    RvP being left footed, I would suppose Vidic on the left of our 2 centrebacks, would be the one coming up against him more often when he cuts in to try a shot. I say send him into the stands within 5mins and he would be quiet all night after only coming back from a long layoff

  28. Trevor says:

    Bit of a tick question!!

    If rio plays out of his skin, – Rio Wins!
    If RVP Plays out of his skin – RVP Wins!

    The only thing is that Luck is involved. Im looking forward to tomorrows night’s match!! Should be good! Id rather RVP not be playing! he is something special!

  29. Chris20LEGEND says:

    Arsenal dont really have a player good enough to replace van persie, atleast we have Evans and even O shea who do the job when there needed..

  30. Drew Vader says:

    I’m terrified of a 1-0 loss heading to PKs….

    I just hope we come out with the same mind set as on Wed, where we are just all over them right from the start. If we have a defensive mind set and sit back trying to defend just in our own half, eventually they will convert a chance or two.

    And RvP is dangerous on freekicks, so we’ll have to be careful on fouls around the box

  31. Drew Vader says:

    And F me I hope Evra was just rested today as a precaution…

  32. jcolas says:

    RVP is no Henry… nuff said.

  33. arsene wenger says:

    van persie would be good if football wasnt a team sport,maybe 1-a-side, but its 11 and he rarely plays in anything but struggled 1-0 wins and draws,id play nikki and the useless prick ade upfront because we need to score 3, rio and vidic are far too physical for van, hopefully its togo weather without even a breeze and ade feels happy to play,we need almost a miracle,not quite a miracle but as close as can be, or a red card for rio in the 1st minute

  34. arsene wenger says:

    van persie hasnt scored a free kick since sunderland about 15 months ago so dont worry about that either

  35. Joe Lara says:

    The match may end up either 2 – 0 or 3 – 1 for the Gunners. Arsenal had a fantastic run at the Emirates and they didn’t concede a CL goal at their home this season.

    They scored the most of their goals at Emirates including the 4 – 0 victory against who devastated United at OT (Porto). The maximum goals Arsenal scored in one match were 5, when United only scored maximum goals of 3 against the poorest team in the CL and still managed 2 – 2 draw at OT against AaB.

    Arsenal defeated United at the Grove without Adebayor, Van Persie, Toure, Almunia (who played roughly 50 mins).

    Almunia, at this stage, is in good shape and he can manage to handle the long shots of CR7 and Tevez.

    Hopefully, Arsenal will play traditional 4-4-2, which will give deep role to Cesc along Alex Song, and that will give some possession to the Gunners, cos, every player can play only at his own position, with Cesc in the deep role he can provide passes to both Walcott (the fastest human on earth) and Nasri (who hit twice at United box in Sweet November).

    Our obvious line up would be something like this:

    Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Gibbs;
    Walcott, Fabregas, Song, Nasri,
    Van Persie, Adebayor.

    My prediction: Arsenal 1 – 0 United — So who knows who will win in penalties? Can Berba score against Almunia, can Van der Saar handle RvP?

    Lets see!!!

  36. themarkedman72 says:

    We can cover rio better than they can cover rvp.
    Thus I vote for Rvp.

  37. Gooner77 says:

    I’m always surprised how highly fans from other teams seem to rate Van Persie.
    Undoubtedly he has talent and has had some great moments for us, however I don’t think I’m alone (judging from other Gooner comments on here and elsewhere) in feeling that he more often that not flatters to deceive. He had a moment at the beginning of last season when Henry had left that he threatened to become the player we hoped he would, but then he got injured. No way has he come anywhere near the heights hit by Bergkamp and I think the only reason Wenger compares the players is because they are both Dutch and as a way of boosting VP’s confidence. Other than that I don’t see much similarity. VP can slow down an attack, needs too many touches and is ultimately far too injury prone. Having said all that he can occasionally prove to be a matchwinner all by himself. That’s the point, if he does well it is on his own and he often hinders the team. Maybe tonight he will prove us all wrong.
    Ferdinand is vitally important to you guys and is a genuinely great defender. Title winning sides are always built on great defences and I think that answers your question as to which player is more important to their sides……


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