If the Dutchman was not in United’s ranks, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side would have won just five Premier League matches this campaign and earned only half of their 52-point tally.
Van Persie has scored a staggering 16 league goals for the table-toppers and even chipped in with six assists after having arrived for £22 million from Arsenal in the summer.
Thanks to the 29-year-old’s enormous contribution, United have won 17, drawn one and lost three matches for a win percentage of 81 – but take his personal efforts out of the equation, and it’s a very different story.
Without Van Persie, United would have 26 points on the board and be scrapping it out with West Ham and Norwich for a mid-table spot, while the club would already be out of the FA Cup, taking out his stoppage-time equaliser at Upton Park on Saturday.
Last season was the first injury-free campaign he has had since joining Arsenal for £2.75m in 2004, and Ferguson will be more desperate than ever that one of his key players remains fit for the entirety of the season. It clearly is quite crucial.
Interestingly, another man whose contribution dominates his side’s results to an alarming extent is contract rebel Theo Walcott.
Despite not starting a Premier League game between August 18 and November 10, Walcott has still scored eight times and set up six goals.
With his efforts, Arsenal have won nine, drawn seven and lost four games for a win rate of 45 per cent; without him Arsenal would have seen their win stats dip to a very poor 35 per cent.