Old Trafford

Next Game

Man Utd v Norwich

Saturday, 26 April 2014, 17:30

Barclays Prem

Goodison Park

Last Game

Everton 2 - 0 Man Utd

Sunday, 20 April 2014, 16:10

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

W

hy don't you call in Becks as well...and we will all have a lovely tea party!

kimosabi
United: Scholes helping out

M

ourinho is just a good-looking version of Allardyce (Fit Sam?). Clearly 19th century football isn't such a big deal after all?

Ezy_Rider
Chelsea Killed The Game Instead Of Playing It

S

tay put, Pep. Timothy Sherwood has this under control.

slowgraffiti
Guardiola plans Bayern stay

Footer 365

Champions League: Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti hails Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti hailed the 'sacrifices' made by Cristiano Ronaldo in the 1-0 win over Bayern Munich.

Hugo Lloris says Tottenham can't get any worse after torrid campaign

Hugo Lloris admits it will be difficult for Spurs to be any worse next season following a torrid league campaign.

Champions League: Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola proud despite Real Madrid loss

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola was proud of his side's performance, despite their 1-0 first-leg defeat to Real Madrid.

Mail Box

Of Course People Remember How You Won

Some have said that it doesn't matter how Chelsea played as long as they won, but is that true? Plus, we've found the one chap who enjoyed Tuesday's game...

Chelsea Got A Result, What's The Problem?

There is plenty of 'that's 90 minutes I'll never get back' sentiment about Chelsea's 'performance' in Madrid, but at least one person thinks they did what was required...

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