‘Robin van Persie benefitted from absence of Man United duo’
Robin van Persie was given longer to prove himself in absence of Man United duo, says Gary Neville
Robin van Persie benefitted from the absence of Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao on Sunday, according to Gary Neville.
The 31-year-old striker led the Manchester United attack after Falcao suffered an injury setback and Rooney served the final match of his three-game ban.
The chance has come very late for him – he might not have had that chance if the others were fit
Van Persie tested Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on a number of occasions before the Dutch striker cancelled out Didier Drogba’s opener with a stoppage-time effort.
And United legend Neville doesn’t believe Van Gaal would have persisted with his compatriot if Falcao and Rooney had been available for the visit of the league leaders.
“Van Persie has benefitted today from Rooney and Falcao not being available,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“Probably after 50-65 minutes he would have been pulled off. The fact that he’s actually been allowed to play 90minutes and the chance has come very late for him – he might not have had that chance if the others were fit.
“I’ve never seen Chelsea as spread and as split in midfield with the space and pathways through to Van Persie.
“[Juan] Mata and [Marouane] Fellaini did really well in those positions, I thought the defence got back quickly as soon as they gave the ball away, Van Persie looked livelier than he has done.”
Van Persie had six shots on Courtois’s goal during a 1-1 draw on Sunday.