Robin Van Persie: Man Utd v Aston Villa Volley
Words From Ryan Quinn.
Robin van Persie and volleys go hand in hand. And one account of what has always been a perfect combination helped Manchester United regain the Premier League title from the grasp of their noisy neighbours.
In Sir Alex Ferguson's final season as manager of United, Ferguson made a fantastic coup in taking 29 year-old Robin van Persie from Arsenal. This was a short-term signing considering the age of the centre-forward, but it was needed for a quick impact, to win the title. And van Persie's 26 league goals led United to a historic 20th league title, and one goal perfectly encapsulates both that season and van Persie's approach to scoring goals.
On April 22nd 2013 against a struggling Aston Villa, United had the chance to win the title, even though sweeping away with 13 points clear ahead of Manchester City, having lost it on the final day of the season before on goal difference.
Wayne Rooney, who during his time with United formed many good partnerships, namely Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Antonio Valencia. But this season oversaw Rooney on many occasions as the perfect foil for van Persie. Rooney, who was for three seasons United's main goalscorer following the departure of Ronaldo, stepped back following the Dutchman's arrival, and played as the no.10 in United's 4-2-3-1.
After giving United the lead, United were on the counter-attack looking to add to the one goal lead. And Rooney was with the ball towards the right of the halfway line after having received the ball from Shinji Kagawa. van Persie makes a run ahead of the Villa defender, and Rooney, notificing the well-timed run, plays a diagonal pass that could have easily been allowed to move ahead of van Persie before controlling the ball and waiting for a teammate to move into vacated space.
But no, this occasion was made for the spectacular.
Because of how perfect (notice this is a recurring term?) the weight on the pass is, the ball lands directly in van Persie's path, and the forward allows for the ball to move across his body before striking the ball so sweetly with that wand of a left-foot. The ball smashes past goalkeeper Brad Guzan into the bottom left corner.
Manchester United will always be thankful for Robin van Persie.
Ryan writes about football tactics and history on @TCPlaymaker and freelance for various. Follow him here: @Quinntactics