Premier League
Man UtdManchester United1ArsenalArsenal0

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Old Trafford
Robin van Persie (far left) scores for Manchester United

Robin van Persie punished his former club once more with the winner as Manchester United came out on top in the battle with Premier League leaders Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Van Persie, who scored for United against Arsenal in both games last season following his £24m move, gave United a precious three points with a fine 27th-minute header from Wayne Rooney's corner.

Win a big result for Man Utd - Moyes

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger insisted before the game that Van Persie was still "an Arsenal man" but the Dutch striker showed no hesitation in celebrating the goal that pushed United up to fifth in the table and to within five points of their opponents.

United boss David Moyes knew defeat would have left them 11 points adrift in the title race, a gap which might have proved beyond even the reigning champions.

Wenger revealed sickness in his camp had deprived him of defender Per Mertesacker and midfielder Tomas Rosicky, while Mikel Arteta was fit to start despite also feeling unwell. This may have contributed towards a decidedly flat first 45 minutes.

And despite a much-improved second half, which included two perfect crosses from full-back Bacary Sagna that somehow went untouched, it was United's fans who were celebrating a win of great significance at the final whistle.

It was a disappointing end to a week in which Arsenal made major statements of intent against Liverpool in the Premier League and away to Dortmund in the Champions League.

The Gunners will still be delighted with their start to the season but this was United's day and Moyes will now feel they are building momentum after a third successive league win.

It was the familiar figure of Van Persie who decided the destiny of this game, getting away from Olivier Giroud to meet Rooney's delivery and direct a fine header over Kieran Gibbs on the line.

Play was held up twice before half-time for head injuries to Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic.

In a week when much debate has centred on Tottenham's decision to allow goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to continue after his collision with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku at Goodison Park, Szczesny required lengthy treatment following a clash of heads with United's Phil Jones.

Wenger vows to 'come back stronger'

He was able to resume - with Jones very unfortunate to be booked for something that was clearly accidental - but Vidic was not so lucky after he was caught on the head by United keeper David de Gea as he punched clear.

Vidic got to his feet but went straight off before half-time and was replaced by England midfielder Tom Cleverley for the second half.

Arsenal, as they needed to, started the second half with greater purpose but Wenger clearly felt the need for greater creativity as he replaced defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini with Jack Wilshere on the hour.

Just as Wilshere was preparing to come on, Rooney wasted a good opportunity to give United that crucial second goal, doing the hard part to escape Sagna on the edge of the area only to screw his left-foot shot wide.

As Arsenal enjoyed a greater share of possession, Moyes introduced the experienced Ryan Giggs for Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa, while Wenger brought on striker Nicklas Bendtner for Santi Cazorla.

Chris Smalling - who was playing at right-back for United - headed wide from Van Persie's free-kick, then in the dying seconds Bendtner was unable to get a touch on a wonderful delivery from Sagna and Arsenal's final chance had gone.

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1De Gea
  • 12Smalling
  • 3Evra
  • 16Carrick
  • 6Evans
  • 15VidicSubstituted forCleverleyat 45'minutes
  • 25A Valencia
  • 4JonesBooked at 42mins
  • 20van PersieSubstituted forFellainiat 85'minutes
  • 10RooneyBooked at 75mins
  • 26KagawaSubstituted forGiggsat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Giggs
  • 13Lindegaard
  • 14Hernández
  • 17Almeida da Cunha
  • 23Cleverley
  • 31Fellaini
  • 44Januzaj

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Szczesny
  • 3SagnaBooked at 31mins
  • 28Gibbs
  • 8ArtetaSubstituted forGnabryat 83'minutes
  • 6Koscielny
  • 5Vermaelen
  • 16Ramsey
  • 20FlaminiBooked at 44minsSubstituted forWilshereat 61'minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 12Giroud
  • 11Özil
  • 19CazorlaSubstituted forBendtnerat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Wilshere
  • 17Monreal
  • 21Fabianski
  • 23Bendtner
  • 25Jenkinson
  • 44Gnabry
  • 45Hayden
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
75,138

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home5
Away10
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home5
Away6
Fouls
Home12
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 1, Arsenal 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Arsenal 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal).

  4. Post update

    Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal).

  6. Post update

    Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Marouane Fellaini replaces Robin van Persie.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Bacary Sagna with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Phil Jones.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Serge Gnabry replaces Mikel Arteta.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Chris Smalling (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Robin van Persie with a cross following a set piece situation.

  13. Booking

    Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

  15. Post update

    Patrice Evra (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Nicklas Bendtner replaces Santiago Cazorla.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Ryan Giggs replaces Shinji Kagawa.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Patrice Evra.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal1181222101225
2Liverpool1172221101123
3Southampton116411551022
4Chelsea116321810821
5Man Utd116231813520
6Everton115511410420
7Tottenham1162396320
8Man City1161428121619
9Newcastle115241516-117
10West Brom113531212014
11Aston Villa114251112-114
12Hull11425914-514
13Swansea113351515012
14Cardiff11335915-612
15Norwich11326921-1211
16West Ham11245911-210
17Stoke112451014-410
18Fulham113171019-910
19Sunderland11218822-147
20Crystal Palace11119621-154
View full Premier League table

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