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Monday 20 August 2012

Schmeichel: Van Persie makes United favourites

United legend says Dutch forward can make difference in title race with Manchester City

Peter Schmeichel, at the season launch, tips United to win the title he earned five times

Ahead of Robin van Persie's debut for Manchester United  away to Everton on Monday the legendary United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel predicted the Dutchman can deliver the title that was denied them in dramatic fashion last season.

Schmeichel, who won five Premier League titles at Old Trafford, says Van Persie's signing has tipped the balance in United's favour as they seek to usurp Manchester City in the title race.

"The Manchester City and United squads were very, very even going into yesterday, and then there was the game-changing signing of Robin van Persie," Schmeichel told premierleague.com.

"He was Player of the Year last season, he scored 30 plus goals, he is full of confidence, he wants to come to Manchester United, he is going to play, and I'm not insulting Arsenal players by saying this, with better players in every game.

"Van Persie will get more chances playing for United than he did for Arsenal"
Peter Schmeichel

"He didn't do that at Arsenal because they were struggling at times and had to dig really deep in their squad which is not as strong as United's.

Schmeichel suggests that Van Persie might be able to surpass his mark of 30 Barclays Premier League goals last season because he will not have to make as many as he did for Arsenal.

"He will have more opportunities given to him in games where last season he had to create a lot of his opportunities himself," Schmeichel said. "The quality we know, he is a fantastic finisher. I am not comparing him to Ruud van Nistelrooy but he is the same kind of person. He doesn't miss a lot of chances.

"If he can deliver that kind of level, stick him in a Manchester United shirt with the players that we have, he is going to score many, many goals and many, many goals is the difference, we have already seen that last season.

"We lacked a few goals to win the championship and we leaked too many goals to win the championship and this is what you are doing, you are finding the goals somewhere."

"United leaked too many goals to win the title last season"
Peter Schmeichel

Schmeichel also believes that rather than threatening the development of Danny Welbeck at Old Trafford, Van Persie's arrival should help him improve.

"Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck have a great understanding," Schmeichel said. "Welbeck is developing, he has now got that added pressure that will take him to the next level, that he needs to put more balls in the net. 

"The way he has developed, the way that he has come through, on loan at Sunderland, come into the team, I think he is mature enough to develop that part of his game. By putting Robin van Persie in that squad he is lifting everybody. He is an expensive signing and is a big personality; this is not someone untried coming in."

To read the match report from Manchester United's ill-fated trip to Everton click here.

Peter Schmeichel was talking at the launch of the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season. For behind the scenes photos and news go to www.facebook.com/BarclaysFootball and follow @BarclaysFooty

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Key Points

  • Peter Schmeichel says Robin van Persie signing is a game-changer
  • Dutchman will prevent lack of goals that cost United the title last year
  • Former Arsenal forward set to make debut against Everton this evening