Robin Van Persie came back to haunt former club Arsenal as he scored for Manchester United in a comfortable victory at Old Trafford.
All eyes were on the Dutchman as he squared up to the Gunners for the first time since his controversial switch to United in the summer. And it was his fourth minute strike that set the ball rolling for his new employers and consigned Arsene Wenger’s men to a disappointing defeat.
Both teams were forced to endure extra time and a glut of goals in their respective Capital One Cup ties in midweek but it was the hosts that started brighter and struck first blood courtesy of Van Persie, as he took advantage of a mistake from ex-teammate Thomas Vermaelen to fire nonchalantly past Vito Mannone.
The Gunners were extremely subdued in the first half and failed to register a proper shot on target with Oliver Giroud isolated on his own up front. That was in contrast to Mannone who kept out efforts from Van Persie and Wayne Rooney before the latter fired horribly wide from the penalty spot after Santo Cazorla was punished for handling in the box.
Giroud came close to equalising just after the break but he could only strike the post from an acute angle before United took control and doubled their lead. Vito Mannone kept out Van Persie with a superb save after he broke the offside trap but couldn’t stop Patrice Evra from finding the net in the 65th minute with a bullet header from Rooney’s cross.
The visitors woes were compounded 20 minutes from time as Jack Wilshere was sent off after picking up his second yellow card for a foul on Evra and it wasn’t until Cazorla’s stunning injury time strike that Wenger had something to cheer.