Yesterday I put together an article on 'Five underperforming players at Manchester United' - Which featured Nani, Young, Welbeck, Valencia and Scholes.
In truth, I agonised over whether to include Robin van Persie in the list, crazy as it may sound, before deciding against it. The Dutchman is a victim of his own very high standards, and when he goes on a goalless streak, you tend to notice.
However the Dutchman's all round play and movement has been good, so it would be harsh to criticise him as under-performing, but then the striker does not go very long without a goal very often.
In fact Van Persie is on a barren run by his standards. He is currently three games without a goal in the Premier League, and will be desperate to get back to scoring ways against West Ham on Wednesday night.
Van Persie only went two-plus games without a goal once last season for Arsenal, in March-April when he failed to net in four consecutive games; against Everton, QPR, Manchester City, and Aston Villa.
Intriguingly QPR and Villa are two of the clubs he has failed to net against in this three-game Premier League stretch.
So, the pressure is on one of the most consistent strikers ever to grace the Premier League. For the last time he went four games without a goal before that was in April 2010.
Beyond that you have to go way back to May 2009 for a similarly goalless run for the striker, when he went eight league games without scoring for Arsenal, making it more than three years since he went more than four games in the league without scoring.
None of this is to have a dig at the Dutchman, the opposite in fact, more to emphasise just what an incredibly consistent striker he has been over the past few years, even with his injuries.
He netted 30 in 38 for Arsenal last season in the league, 18 in 25 the year before that, and has 8 in 13 for United this campaign.
The reason for his recent 'lack of goals' take us back to my article yesterday. There is no coincidence that the list features three wingers. While Nani has been injured for the past fortnight, Valencia and Young have been severely off form over the past month. The service has been found wanting.
Wayne Rooney missed the Norwich game with injury, and the one player Van Persie looked to be gelling with, Shinji Kagawa has been out with a knee injury. With chances in short supply, the goals have dried up too. Not even the re-introduction of Paul Scholes to the starting line-up against QPR could change things.
Sir Alex Ferguson has realised it isn't working, and is to ring the changes again against West Ham, with Anderson confirmed to start. Van Persie will be hoping it does the trick, and that four league games without a goal is just 'something which happened occasionally in his Arsenal days.'
How can United change the team to get Van Persie scoring again?
image: © little-pete