There was a time when Robin van Persie was dismissed as a brittle liability, destined to forever live in the shadows of the great Arsenal strikers of the Premier League era such as Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
But with his injury problems firmly behind him – at least for now – the Dutchman has arguably become one of the best front men in the world as he continues to flourish at the business end of a Gunners team recovering well from a shocking start to the season.
Not content with a stunning hat-trick that sunk Chelsea in a remarkable 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge, Van Persie was on target again in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over West Brom at the weekend, while also turning provider for fellow goalscorers Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta.
That strike against the Baggies was his 11th in the first 11 games of the new league campaign and took his tally in 2011 to a staggering 29 goals in 28 Premier League matches – a record even the majestic Henry would have been proud of.
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It is no surprise then that Van Persie, locked alongside Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney at 3/1 for the Golden Boot prior to the weekend’s action, is now the 9/4 clear favourite.
Football betting fans receive a free £25 bet for joining bwin.com and could win £81.25 if they back this outcome and the former Feyenoord star obliges by topping the goalscoring charts come the end of the season.
Just behind Van Persie in the betting is Sergio Aguero, who failed to notch in Manchester City’s 3-2 triumph at QPR on Saturday but can still be backed at 7/2, while Rooney’s price has now drifted to 4/1, perhaps as a result of his recent deployment in midfield.
Both Aguero and Rooney are currently on nine goals, which means another City striker, Edin Dzeko, is now Van Persie’s nearest challenger after notching his tenth strike of the new campaign at Loftus Road.
The Bosnian is also a 4/1 shot for top scorer, with Liverpool’s Luis Suarez at 18/1, United’s Javier Hernandez at 20/1 and in-form Newcastle hitman Demba Ba priced at 22/1.
But what now seems clear is that, assuming he stays fit for the majority of the year, it will take something extraordinary to deny Van Persie the accolade.
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