Robin van Persie is a top class football player. Radamel Falcao is also a top class football player.
Their partnership should be one of the deadliest in world football but they struggled to work together during Manchester United’s disappointing 1-1 draw against West Ham United, and not for the first time.
Neither player stretched the Hammers defence, they missed good chances and their movement was minimal. It is becoming an all too familiar sight for United fans who are getting used to stagnant performances from the duo when they play together.
The problem for Louis van Gaal is that the pair are too similar. Falcao and Van Persie almost get in the way of each other as they tend to make the same runs and you get the feeling both would enjoy playing in a lone role more.
Movement wise, Van Persie has been statuesque this season and although Falcao has shown some good movement in previous games, he certainly didn’t at Upton Park.
Up against a makeshift West Ham defence, Van Persie and Falcao should have been buzzing around like angry wasps but they instead relaxed like content caterpillars, calmly minding their own business, which certainly bugged Man United fans.
As a partnership, Van Persie and Falcao are ultimately flawed by their own strengths. Pairing Van Persie or Falcao with James Wilson for instance would inject some much needed pace into the side’s attack and offer much more of a partnership with differing styles of play. Alternatively, Falcao in tandem with Rooney would offer an element of guile and improve link up play with the midfield.
Van Gaal still doesn’t know his strongest XI but with Van Persie and Falcao, it certainly looks to be that the best XI on paper doesn’t necessarily give United the best team. For a man who advocates balance as a foundation of his philosophy, Van Persie and Falcao are strikingly unbalanced as a partnership.