Robin van Persie piled on the misery for former club Arsenal as Manchester United went top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday. The Dutch striker needed fewer than three minutes to put United in front before Patrice Evra doubled their lead in the 67th minute.
Wilshere sees red
Arsenal, for whom this defeat was their third in five matches, then saw this latest loss made worse when midfielder Jack Wilshere, in only his second game back following a long injury lay-off, was sent off for a second bookable offence after he caught Evra on the ankle. “It’s the first time ever I have played against my former club, but in the end it is about the game and we won it, I am pleased with that,” van Persie told Sky Sports soon after the victory that put United two points in front of previous leaders Chelsea.
United manager Alex Ferguson though felt the scoreline did not reflect his side’s dominance. “It wasn’t a close game. It was a lack of urgency in the game throughout, far too casual. But the opening goal was an ideal start and it was good for Robin. He was fantastic today,” said Ferguson. Van Persie, playing against Arsenal for the first time since his £24 million ($39 million) pre-season move from the Gunners, wasted little time in giving United the lead.
He struck in the third minute when, after Thomas Vermaelen failed to clear a Rafael cross from the right, he shot into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area. It was the 29-year-old van Persie’s 10th goal in 13 United appearances. United should have doubled their lead shortly before half-time when they were awarded a penalty after Santi Cazorla blocked Ashley Young’s cross with his arm. But England striker Wayne Rooney saw his spot-kick go well wide of Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone’s right post.
Evra doubles United’s lead
Evra did make it 2-0 when he headed in a Rooney cross following a short corner. Cazorla pulled one back for Arsenal deep into stoppage time with virtually the last kick of the match. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the early goal did his side in. “It was important not to put ourselves in trouble, which is what we did. We had a lot of the ball after we conceded the first goal but we did not create a lot.