Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Robin van Persie, left, opens the scoring against Arsenal. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Robin van Persie, left, opens the scoring against Arsenal. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Old boy Robin van Persie shows Arsenal what they are missing

The Dutchman hailed a "special day" after netting the opener in Manchester United's victory over his former club Arsenal.

MANCHESTER // Two goals and a man down, the visiting supporters broke into a chorus. "We want our Arsenal back," they sang. But their Arsenal, a man in keeping with the club's greatest traditions, was a reason for their defeat. Arsenal were beaten by their past.

All too predictably, Robin van Persie set Manchester United on their way to victory against his former team. Patrice Evra added to the Dutchman's third-minute goal before Jack Wilshere was dismissed but a reunion nevertheless revolved around Van Persie.

The scorer of 132 goals for Arsenal opted not to celebrate a first against them.

"He's done the right thing," said Sir Alex Ferguson. He behaved properly in front of goal, too, Van Persie latched on to Thomas Vermaelen's poor clearance to angle his shot past Vito Mannone, the former Arsenal striker benefiting from an error from his successor as captain.

The goal had its roots, however, in a right-wing break with Antonio Valencia deceiving Andre Santos with a deft flick to release Rafael da Silva to cross.

"It was a special day," said Van Persie. Had he scored a second, it would have been still more special.

Mannone flung himself to his right to palm away a shot by the Dutchman, supplied expertly by Wayne Rooney. Indeed, the Englishman should have doubled the lead. One stinging shot was parried by Mannone before he dragged a penalty wide after Santi Cazorla handled Ashley Young's cross.

United's only regret was their profligacy.

"We should have scored five or six," Ferguson said. Valencia and Van Persie were other culprits before the second goal came from a more unexpected source. For the second time in a month, the diminutive figure of Evra headed in.

The game's final goal was also its finest, a glorious but irrelevant strike by Cazorla, who curled a shot into the top corner.

"We had a lot of the ball but we were not very efficient in the final third," Wenger said. Their problems were compounded by their mistakes in defensive areas and the departure of the man who inherited Van Persie's No 10 shirt.

On the second game of his comeback, Jack Wilshere collected a second caution and was dismissed.

"It was not deserved," Wenger said. "He went for the ball." But he missed it and, like Tom Cleverley, had already received a final warning from Mike Dean, the referee. Ferguson promptly substituted his midfielder, while Wenger left his on, only to see him go off anyway.

Van Persie, too, diced with danger when he chopped down Bacary Sagna. Otherwise, however, he was not surprisingly outstanding.

"I thought Robin was fantastic," said Ferguson. And for Arsenal, there was an unfortunate inevitability about it.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Barcelona’s Lionel Messi plays with a rugby ball during a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training camp, near Barcelona in Sant Joan Despi, April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

In pictures: Barca play a little rugby before Copa del Rey final

Barcelona and Real Madrid will play in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday night but the day before the match, Braca players played a little rugby during a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training camp, in Sant Joan Despi, Spain. Barca meet Real Madrid on Wednesday at 11.30pm (UAE time) and the match will be on BeIn Sports.

 Supporters of China during the Asian Cup Qualifier match between Iraq vs China at Sharjah football stadium in Sharjah. Iraq won the match by 3-1. Pawan Singh / The National

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.

 Faisal Al Ketbi, standing, has been the poster boy for the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Courtesy of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Faisal Al Ketbi is in spotlight for world jiu-jitsu championships at Abu Dhabi

Faisal Al Ketbi is the poster boy for UAE jiu-jitsu, with his picture prominent in the billboards and advertisements for this week’s Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

 Abdelaziz Haikal, left, avoids getting tackled, but his Al Ahli side were forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal, from Saudi Arabia. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli miss huge opportunity to progress in ACL

Dubai side forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

 Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, left, gestures from his car after winning the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur on March 30, 2014. He will be among the favourites at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones

F1: Mercedes look to capitalise on woes at Red Bull and Ferrari

Ferrari were left reeling after team principal Stefano Domenicali quit and Red Bull were handed a setback when they lost their appeal for Daniel Ricciardo as both incidents have heightened the mood at Mercedes ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

 Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa could be wearing a blue kit next season at Chelsea in the English Premier League. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Atletico’s Diego Simeone cannot stop Diego Costa move to Chelsea

Diego Costa has been the standout player for Atletico Madrid with his 26 goals, which has attracted the attention of several leading European clubs and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are reportedly at the front of the queue.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National