Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1: RVP on target as Wilshere sees red on miserable day for the Gunners
15:08 GMT, 3 November 2012
Robin van Persie struck inside three minutes against his former club as Manchester United eased to a comfortable victory over 10-man Arsenal at Old Trafford.
The prolific Dutchman was taunted throughout by visiting fans but reminded them of his talents in the opening moments in a Barclays Premier League contest United dominated from the outset.
Wayne Rooney missed United's fourth penalty of the season but Patrice Evra added a second and Arsenal's misery was compounded by the sending off Jack Wilshere before Santi Cazorla hit an injury-time consolation.
High times: Robin van Persie was the catalyst to yet another Manchester United over Arsenal
MAN UTD: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia (Nani 82), Carrick, Cleverley (Anderson 61), Young, Rooney, van Persie. Subs not used: Lindegaard, Hernandez, Scholes, Powell, Wootton.
Booked: Young, Cleverley, Anderson, Rooney, Van Persie
Goals: Van Persie 3, Evra 67
ARSENAL: Mannone, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Arteta, Ramsey (Walcott 52), Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski (Arshavin 81), Giroud. Subs not used: Martinez, Koscielny, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Chamakh.
Booked: Arteta, Arshavin Sent off: Wilshere
Goals: Cazorla 90
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
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England midfielder Wilshere had been
making only his second appearance for the Gunners after missing more
than a year with injury.
United were superior in almost every department against a side they fought out a bitter rivalry with in the last decade.
The sight of Van Persie in their
ranks will have hurt, and the Arsenal fans made clear from the moment
his name was first read out what they now thought of their former hero.
Van Persie's eight-year stint in
north London culminated in last season's magnificent 37-goal campaign
but he was cheered when he slipped in the opening minute.
But the 29-year-old needed little
time to remind the Gunners of what they lost when he left the Emirates
Stadium in a 24million move over the summer.
Arsenal's defensive frailties were
again in evidence as United swept forward and Antonio Valencia bypassed
Andre Santos by releasing Rafael down the right with a deft backheel.
Pounced: The Dutchman punished a Thomas Vermaelen error inside three minutes… but didn't celebrate
The Brazilian whipped in an awkward
low cross which caught Thomas Vermaelen off balance and his attempted
clearance rolled straight to Van Persie, who fired past Vito Mannone
from inside the box.
It was his 10th goal for United in 13 games but he avoided antagonising Arsenal supporters further by deciding not to celebrate.
Conceding so early may have led to
some anxiety in the Arsenal camp after their 8-2 capitulation in the
corresponding fixture last season.
United may not have threatened a
repeat of that scoreline but they continued to control the game and the
best response the visitors could initially muster was a wayward
long-range drive from Santos.
Case for the defence: Arsenal were angry at the award of a penalty late in the first-half
… but luckily for the Gunners, Wayne Rooney sent his spot kick wide of the post
That was a rare moment of opportunity for Santos, who found himself under considerable pressure at left-back.
United may have seemed content to
build a patient game but attacking Santos' flank seemed a fruitful
avenue for the hosts, with Valencia troubling the Portuguese at every
Van Persie went close again as he raced onto a defence-slitting pass by Rooney but Mannone saved well.
Arsenal did show some positive intent
with Aaron Ramsey, the only starting member of their side who played in
last year's thrashing, reaching the byline but David de Gea pushed away
Valencia predictably beat Santos to cross and Michael Carrick clipped the ball to Rooney after Bacary Sagna had half-cleared.
Doubled up: United got the second their performance deserved when Patrice Evra headed home
Rooney steadied himself to shoot but
Mannone produced another good save and Van Persie headed straight at the
goalkeeper after the ball was worked back in.
United could have doubled their lead
on the stroke of half-time after Cazorla handled an Ashley Young cross
at point-blank range just inside the box.
The Spaniard felt the award was harsh
and he could argue he was protecting his face but it did not matter as
Rooney dragged the resulting spot-kick wide.
Another goal might have been the
least United deserved for their first half superiority but it was a
reminder of their early season deficiencies from 12 yards.
Questions will certainly be asked as to why the in-form Van Persie did not take the responsibility.
Cheerio: Jack Wilshere was sent off for two yellow cards in only his second game in 17 months
United were close to doubling their
lead again after another Vermaelen error early in the second half
allowed Van Persie to break but Valencia could not turn in his low ball.
Carrick then shot wide from distance after a shot by Rafael was half-cleared as far as the England midfielder.
Arsenal continued to lack a spark but
Olivier Giroud almost provided one after a neat touch beat Rio
Ferdinand and gave him a shooting chance but he could only hit the
side-netting from a tight angle.
Van Persie was booked after a late
challenge on Sagna but was back in more familiar position just after the
hour as he was picked out by a fine cross by Ashley Young, but Mannone
got a vital hand to his low shot.
Stunner: Santi Cazorla gave an undeserved respectability to the scoreline with a stoppage-time strike
Arsenal could not hold out much
longer and from a short corner routine Rooney crossed for Evra and the
Frenchman planted a firm header inside the post.
The Gunners' agonies grew as
Wilshere, booked in the first half and fortunate to escape a second
yellow card for a bad tackle on Van Persie, was penalised for one bad
tackle too many, this time on Evra, and saw red.
Van Persie and substitute Anderson
both thought they had added a third for United but were both correctly
denied by an offside flag.
United played out the closing moments
with little alarm until Cazorla netted a fine consolation from the edge
of the box with what proved the last kick of the game.