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Ever-changing supporting cast are hindering Van Persie goals mission

Last night’s Manchester derby delighted in defying expectations, producing an away win against hosts unbeaten in 12 home games, with City scoring twice against a defence who hadn’t conceded a goal in six games. Furthermore, a United side who have mustered 10 goals more than their sharpest shooting Premier League contemporaries were lacking in fire power, with £30m summer acquisition Robin Van Persie once again faltering in his bid to end a club goal drought which has now reached 10 games in length.

Fatigue might be a reasonable assumption as to the underlying slow down in the Dutchman’s scoring rate, but his performance at Old Trafford wanted for nothing when it came to movement and  endeavour.

Van Persie’s troublesome free-kick brought United’s goal – via the unfortunate noggin of Vincent Kompany – and his boots have ushered home three goals in recent World Cup qualifying matches for  the Netherlands, making it unlikely that a drop in his performance levels is behind his club goal drought.

Far more likely his goal scoring appetites are being starved due to a deeper lying confusion as to how best United’s attack may be organised. Van Persie’s 28 league starts are matched by only Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick amongst his teammates, with none of his attacking colleagues within 10 games of that total.

Last year’s PFA Player Of The Year dark horse Antonio Valencia has been relatively marginalised this term, as has Nani and new signing Kagawa Shinji (when not injured) has not made a transition as effortless as his previous move from Japan to Dortmund.

Given that the aforementioned attackers are under half of those whom Alex Ferguson has the headache of trying to arrange, lest we forget Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Danny Wellbeck and Tom Cleverley, forging a lasting understanding with his front line partners will remain a struggle for the ex-Arsenal man.

At Liverpool Luis Suarez is clearly benefiting from the settled formation and personnel employed by Brendan Rogers with Steven Gerrard, Phillipe Coutinho, Lucas, Stewart Downing and Daniel Sturridge constants in the side for the last five league games.

Van Persie 5/2 now trails the 4/11 Uruguyan in the Premier League top goalscorer betting with Coral by three goals.