The flying Dutchman does it ...

2012-11-03 17:53

Manchester United (1) 2Arsenal (0) 1

Robin van Persie was on target against his old club as Manchester United brushed Arsenal aside in a 2-1 victory that sent them to the top of the English Premier League yesterday.

The prolific Dutchman, who joined The Red Devils from The Gunners in August, having scored 37 league goals for his previous employer last season, needed less than three minutes to put the hosts ahead after a mistake by defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Patrice Evra wrapped up their comfortable win with a 67th minute header.

Santi Cazorla netted in injury time for an otherwise disappointing Arsenal, who were reduced to 10 men after the break when recently returned midfielder Jack Wilshere was sent off for receiving a second yellow card.

Wayne Rooney missed a penalty for United on the stroke of half-time but it never looked like proving costly.

Arsenal lost the corresponding fixture 8-2 last season and, while they never looked in danger of such a thrashing again, the final scoreline rather flattered Arsene Wenger’s side.

Without Van Persie’s goals, Arsenal have looked toothless in the premiership this season and Wenger’s side are already falling well off the pace, having picked up only 15 points from 10 matches.

Almost inevitably it was Van Persie who was their tormentor.

He rarely needs any help in finding the back of the net but former team-mate Vermaelen provided it when he made a hash of trying to clear a cross from defender Rafael and the ball fell to Van Persie who struck a first-time shot past goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

“A special day, in the end it was quite a game,” Van Persie, who did not celebrate his goal, told Sky Sports.

“It speaks for itself (why he did not celebrate). I played eight years there and had a fantastic time. I wanted to respect the fans, the manager and the whole club.”

Arsenal struggled to make any real impact and only Wilshere, making his second start since returning from a long injury lay-off, showed any real urgency in the opening period – earning himself a yellow card for a foul on Tom Cleverley.

Van Persie had another effort saved by Mannone as United looked for a second. And moments before the break, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Ashley Young’s cross was blocked by the arm of Cazorla and referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot.

Arsenal enjoyed a huge let-off, though, as Rooney’s penalty slithered just wide of the right-hand post.

Vermaelen made another terrible error just after the interval, gifting possession to Van Persie whose low cross looked inviting for Antonio Valencia but he failed to make any meaningful contact in front of goal.

Evra finally gave United breathing space when he headed in from close range after 67 minutes, two minutes before Wilshere was shown red.
Cazorla gave Arsenal’s fans something to cheer about, curling in a superb shot with the final kick of the match.

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