Van Persie vents fury at Arsenal boss Wenger over Oxlade-Chamberlain change
Robin van Persie showed his disgust at Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s decision to substitute Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain as Manchester United snatched a crucial victory at the Emirates.
Wenger was also on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse from his own fans after deciding to introduce Andrey Arshavin in place of the England Under 21 international.
Sky cameras captured Van Persie apparently mouthing the word ‘No’ and swearing at his manager’s 74th-minute substitution.
Protest: Robin van Persie appears to shout 'No' at Arsene Wenger
Russia forward Arshavin was roundly booed and Wenger was the target of chants from irate supporters also furious with his decision.
Wenger’s move then backfired as Arshavin was partly at fault for Danny Welbeck’s late winner, which pulled United back to within three points of Manchester City at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Antonio Valencia gave United a first-half lead but Van Persie had equalised just three minutes before Arshavin came on. Wenger refused to be drawn on Van Persie’s reaction — but defended his decision.
Sub: Oxade-Chamberlain is replaced
'I can understand that the fans are upset about the substitution, especially when it doesn't work, but he (Oxlade-Chamberlain) had started to fatigue,' Wenger said.
'He was sick in the week. Arshavin is captain of the Russia national team.
'You have an 18-year-old kid making his first Premier League start and a player who's captain of his country and they are querying the substitution Let's be serious.
'I've been a manager for 30 years and have made 50,000 subs. I do not have to justify every decision I make. I stand up for it.'
Sky pundit Gary Neville launched a scathing attack on Arshavin, saying: ‘He doesn’t like our weather. He doesn’t like our women. I think he wants to go back to Russia. Well, go back.’
The defeat puts Arsenal five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea. ‘It leaves us in a very difficult position,’ said Wenger, whose side face a battle to qualify for the Champions League. ‘It’s a game we couldn’t afford to lose.’
United’s win was soured by a ankle ligament injury to defender Phil Jones which could keep him out for four weeks.