Van Persie has been in sensational goalscoring form since the turn of 2011, netting 28 times in 27 appearances prior to Tuesday night’s Champions League meeting with Marseille.
But Wenger opted to start Park Ju-young for the Group F match at Emirates Stadium which could have ensured qualification with a win, however a lackluster performance endured and the match ended in an unimpressive 0-0 draw
The reason I left Robin out was physical tiredness – that’s all. He would have to play 50 matches a year. He cannot play 50 games.
It was a bit on the edge. It was a gamble. You can say it didn’t come off. He had a great chance when he came on.
I believe you cannot just say that one player always has to make the difference. It was a game where we were not the sharpest physically. We lacked a bit of class in the last 30 metres.
[Of his team’s overall performance] We were tired emotionally more than physically maybe. It’s difficult to be on a high three days later [after the 5-3 win over Chelsea]. We wanted to achieve qualification tonight.
But in the last two games against Marseille we took four points. I’m confident we can qualify top of the group.
Wenger should have started RVP and subbed him later on rather than the other way around as he could have netted earlier in the match. However Wenger would have faced a dilemma if the Gunners still weren’t leading.
But with the international break on the horizon, and the Dutch already achieving qualification for Euro 2012 Van Persie will get a slight rest during the next two weeks. So perhaps it was overkill to rest RVP, however what is done is done and now we must look forward to another Emirates brace from the Gunners captain against West Brom.