Man U Riding Van Persie's Brilliance

Man U Riding Van Persie's Brilliance

It was the second minute of stoppage time in this past Sunday's Manchester derby when Robin van Persie stepped up to take a free kick, just outside Manchester City's penalty area. The score was 2-2 and Wayne Rooney had a question for his teammate.

Like the other 47,000 people inside the Etihad Stadium, he wanted to know what was coming. "Are you going to shoot or are you going to cross it?" Rooney asked him.

Casually, van Persie answered, "I think I'll have a shot."

What happened next has dominated highlight reels for almost a week: Van Persie's left-footed effort, a slight deflection, and last-gasp winner for Manchester United. It was his 14th goal for the club since moving from Arsenal, and confirmed his status as the most influential striker in England.

Directly measuring strikers' impacts can be tricky, but imagining what life would be like without them can give us a pretty good sense of their worth.

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