This blog title sounds like an Agatha Christie novel. However, Christie liked to beat around the bush with a series of red herrings, before coming to the culmination of her book and revealing who the sleuth really is. Instead, I am going to cut straight to the chase.
RVP is a mug. A really fucking talented mug, but a mug all the same. For a long time, I over-rated him: when people criticised his injuries, I spoke of how well he played when he was fit. Well, lets look at the reality.
Last season he was sensational throughout September. Then he went off and got injured, was rushed back for a couple of games, but basically didn't play until April. He then came back, but it was a slow return. An excuse was given for his sluggish performances: he was, to quote many Arsenal fans, 'playing his way back'. Now, sure you gain a certain degree of sharpness, but he played several games, and never looked convincing.
I'll tell you why RVP is over-rated: it is because he resembles a mythical creature. Not literally, but metaphorically. We've only ever seen him play in short, sharp bursts - he broke into the first-team in spring 2005, but basically he has never played for a concerted period, so he is viewed in a sort of abstract way. People remember great goals against Fulham, Sunderland and most notably Charlton, without realising he is a liability.
And the reason why he is a liability is simple. If you expect someone to be a key player for your team but he never plays, the problem is two-fold. Primarily, you are missing a good player. However, perhaps more importantly, he has never been 'replaced'.
So this season came around, and I said he had to prove his fitness this season or he should be off-loaded. And give the lad some credit, he has stayed fit. But his performances have shown a degree of mediocrity. Sure, he was wonderful against the Spuds, but that aside, I have seen very little. I think his career has stagnated. When he burst on the season, he looked like another Dutch genius. But it was potential, and it was yet to be realised. The problem, is that this is still the case. Hence, I look like a mug in that I have often argued that he is the best striker in the Premiership.
For that simply isn't true - it isn't his lack of goals which bugs me, because he has scored a fair few goals this years. It is his arrogance. Both on the field, and off the field.
I know he has scored 3 or 4 great free-kicks for Arsenel down the years, but they are simply not going in this year, so he should defer to someone else. Instead, he shows the arrogance which typifies his play - there is nothing wrong with the occasional shot, but I believe he doesn't pass it enough.
However, it is off the field that he really grates. We are currently suffering a recession, credit crunch, call it what you want. Arsenal have the most expensive football tickets in the world. And I know that part of my ticket price goes towards RVP's wages. So, when he gets banned for his antics against Stoke, you thought you might have heard an apology from him at the least. Better, he could have donated some of his wages to charity - I heard he's not short of a few bob. But what have we heard from him? Nothing, nada, zilch. Not even a hint of an apology.
And that reakky pisses me off, because he has cocked up, after failing to impress so far this season. So I think that the fact he has the temerity to not even apologies when he misses two huge games is ridiculous. People can boo Barry Bentdner as much as they want. But he's only in the team because of Robin's actions. So much though I hate to criticise Arsenal players, he is the real villain of the piece.
So, when he is offered a double-your-money contract I find it shambolic. He's a good player, who has produced some special moments for Arsenal, but I find it unbelievable that a player who has never managed to play more than half the league games in a season is being offered 80k a week, and yet Flamini left for the sake of a few thousands pounds a week extra. Look where that left us - seems to be a case of Arsenal saying one thing and doing another. And I'm not impressed. I like Robin, but I would really need convincing that in a system of meritocracy he is worth 80 grand a week. And that's the bottom line.
Here's hoping the rest of our players have more luck than Theo....