The KC Stadium

Next Game

Hull City v Arsenal

Sunday, 20 April 2014, 14:05

Barclays Prem

Emirates Stadium

Last Game

Arsenal 3 - 1 West Ham

Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 19:45

Barclays Prem

Prem Snapshot: Van Persie back with a bang

TEAMtalk assesses an Arsenal performance which was promising in parts but made to count for little by Manchester United's Robin van Persie.

Last Updated: 29/04/13 at 07:37 Post Comment

Robin van Persie: Scored from the penalty spot for United

Robin van Persie: Scored from the penalty spot for United

All eyes were on Robin van Persie on Sunday, and the Manchester United striker did not disappoint, scoring on his return to Arsenal to deny Arsene Wenger's side an important three points in the pursuit of a Champions League place.

The Dutchman equalised from the penalty spot before half-time for newly-crowned champions United, who were given a guard of honour before kick-off, having been brought down by former team-mate Bacary Sagna.

The goal cancelled out Theo Walcott's early opener.

Walcott in his post-match interview said Arsenal would view the draw as a point gained. But whether that is the case in the race for the Premier League's top four remains to be seen.

Here, SkySports.com's Pete Fraser looks back at the 90 minutes...

Selection

Arsenal needed a win to stay ahead in the pursuit of Champions League qualification and deployed German forward Lukas Podolski in a central striker role, with 17-goal Olivier Giroud starting a three-match ban for his red card at Fulham.

England midfielder Jack Wilshere had to again be content with a place on the bench, as did captain Thomas Vermaelen.

Van Persie returned to face his former club as United visited. A much-talked about guard of honour went without a hitch but Van Persie still received a hot reception as passions ran high following his controversial £24million move last summer.

Wayne Rooney and Nani both also started in attack.

Tactics

Arsenal had a clear plan to stifle United in midfield by not allowing the likes of Michael Carrick any room to operate. Tomas Rosicky was particularly effective when continuing his excellent form of the latter months of the season.

With central areas congested, United looked for wide areas in which to find success. Having made a slow start, they exposed Arsenal right-back Sagna on several occasions before the Frenchman fouled Van Persie for the penalty. In the second half, Rooney dropped a lot deeper in order to find space and caused Arsenal far more problems than in his almost anonymous first half.

Substitutions

With United gaining control of midfield after the hour mark, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger decided to introduce Wilshere in place of the tiring Rosicky. But the change had next to no impact.

The same can be said of replacing Aaron Ramsey with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho coming on for Podolski.

Sir Alex Ferguson's first change was to send on Anderson for Rafael da Silva, with Phil Jones dropping back into defence. The move gave United more creativity as they looked to counter-attack.

Ryan Giggs also came on for Nani and saw a late chance deflect just wide, while Rooney was given a late breather for Javier Hernandez.

Referee

Phil Dowd had brandished six yellow cards before half-time, and eight in total, including one for Van Persie for a sliding challenge on Per Mertesacker.

The match official's no-nonsense manner was also required to break-up a coming together between Walcott and Jonny Evans.

Dowd did make the correct call on the penalty, when Sagna brought down Van Persie. But he was perhaps let down by one of his assistants in failing to spot Walcott may have been offside when opening the scoring.

Sagna was lucky to avoid a second booking after the hour for a challenge on Patrice Evra.

Ferguson was after the match unhappy five of his United players were shown yellow cards.

Main men

Rosicky was lively for Arsenal in midfield but the poor performance of Sagna cost Wenger's team. The full-back was caught out of position before his mistake with a back-pass led to his foul on Van Persie to give United their penalty equaliser.

All eyes were on Van Persie and, before his goal, he had endured a frustrating match. However, when offered greater space in the second half, he delivered some wicked crosses and almost set Rooney up for a winner.

Looking ahead

Fourth-placed Arsenal sit two points clear of Tottenham Hotspur in the battle to qualify for the Champions League but Wenger's team have played a game more.

Arsenal must therefore take maximum points in their remaining games against already-relegated Queens Park Rangers and struggling Wigan Athletic and Newcastle United.

A potential record points tally has now gone for Manchester United, who can no longer mathematically surpass Chelsea's target of 95. There will consequently simply be a party atmosphere surrounding concluding fixtures versus Chelsea, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion.

World Cup 2014

Check out the latest outright odds on next summer's World Cup in Brazil

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

World Cup: England boss Roy Hodgson sees Andrea Pirlo as Italy's key threat

Roy Hodgson admits Andrea Pirlo is the main threat when England take on Italy in their World Cup opener in Brazil.

Transfer news: Alan Pardew confident Newcastle will strengthen in summer

Alan Pardew is already lining up a number of summer additions at Newcastle, with loanee Loic Remy still a top target.

Premier League: Paul Lambert wants to stay and improve Aston Villa

Paul Lambert insists he wants to stay at Aston Villa and is targeting signings to fire the club up the top flight.

Mail Box

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property