Manchester United moved to the top of the Premier League with a convincing 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford. Coming off the back of a hard-fought and controversial victory against Chelsea, this was the chance for the boys to put further pressure on the leaders at the top of the table. Sir Alex named an unchanged side from the one that started against Chelsea, and this most notably meant that Robin van Persie would be facing his old club Arsenal for the first time in his career.
Under the basking glow of the Mancunian sun, the match got off to the perfect start for the home fans, and quite possibly in the worst manner for Arsenal fans. With just two minuted gone on the clock, Thomas Vermaelen failed to clear a cross from Rafael, and who else but Robin van Persie was on hand to half-volley the rebound past Vito Mannone with his right foot. The Dutchman, who stuck to his word of not celebrating his goal, certainly managed to silence the fans in the away stand who had been booing him at every given opportunity.
Van Persie then had the chance to get another after being slipped through by Rooney, but Mannone this time was able to parry his effort away. Arsenal, despite some possession in the middle of the park barely had a sniff of goal, and all the attacking threat came in the form of waves of United endeavour. Rooney and van Persie came close on a couple of other occasions, but the best chance to double the lead came right towards the end of the first half, when United were awarded a penalty after Cazorla hand-balled Ashley Young's cross. Rooney stepped up, but completely missed the target - a chance blown, but probably not unexpectedly so, given the team's penalty-taking record so far this season.
The second half started in the same way that the first half finished - with United completely dominant, and Valencia squandered another glorious chance after van Persie capitalised on another error from Vermaelen. The two missed chances on either side of the first half seemed to motivate Arsenal to some extent, who started to show a bit more urgency to their play. This however, was stifled not too long after, when Patrice Evra rose highest to head home from a Wayne Rooney cross to make it 2-0.
Minutes later, Arsenal's resistance crumbled completely when the petulant Jack Wilshere was shown his second yellow card for a late challenge on Evra, Arsene Wenger looking visibly dismayed at the touchline. Playing against 10 men with a two goal advantage and 20 minutes to go, one might have thought that Arsenal were here for the taking, but in a frustratingly similar manner to similar occasions last season, the team sat back, quite content with the 2-0 scoreline.
With pretty much the last kick of the game, Santi Cazorla managed to pull a goal back with a great curling effort, Arsenal having finally capitalised on United's failure to defend at the death. It was nothing more than a consolation though, and if anything, flattered the Arsenal players' overall performance on the day.
Best Moment: van Persie opening the score
Worst Moment: Rooney's penalty miss
Man of the Match: Wayne Rooney
Manchester United 2-1 Arsenalvan Persie 3'; Evra 67' - Cazorla 90+5'(Assists: Rafael?, Wayne Rooney)
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