Manchester United inflicted total humiliation on Arsenal and their embattled manager Arsene Wenger with a brutal victory at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson's Premier League champions responded in spectacular fashion to Manchester City's outstanding 5-1 win at Spurs by returning to the top of the table with a result that represented Arsenal's worst defeat since 1896.

Wenger sent out a makeshift side depleted by injuries and suspensions - but even this cannot excuse the manner in which they were outclassed in all parts of the pitch and swept aside with such ease by United.

Wayne Rooney was United's inspiration with the sixth hat-trick of his Old Trafford career, but Ashley Young also made his mark with two stunning goals. Danny Welbeck, Nani and Park Ji-sung were the other scorers.

Ferguson delighted with rampant Man Utd

Theo Walcott reduced United's three-goal advantage on the stroke of half-time but Robin van Persie's strike late in the second half-represented no measure of consolation for a dispirited, broken Arsenal.

United keeper David de Gea distinguished himself with a fine penalty save from Van Persie moments after Welbeck had opened the scoring - and in a game of almost unrelenting misery for Arsenal, teenager Carl Jenkinson ensured they have failed to end a game with 11 players in any of their league games this season when he was sent off.

Old Trafford was understandably exultant at the conclusion of such a carnival performance but Wenger now faces defining days of his Arsenal reign before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.

For Wenger it was a performance, or lack of one, that proved the folly of his summer of transfer inaction

This result underscores the gulf that has opened up between United and Arsenal and Wenger will now seek to address the weaknesses in his squad and replace the departed Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

Ferguson's faith in the team that won so convincingly against Tottenham was rewarded with another thrilling attack-minded performance.

Arsenal's uncertainty was partly explained by the unfamiliar make-up of their team, but the flaws were swiftly exposed by the manner in which United took the lead. Anderson's lofted pass was inventive but Arsenal's failure to react was ominous for what lay ahead, allowing Welbeck to head past Wojciech Szczesny.

Van Persie then squandered an instant opportunity to equalise after referee Howard Webb awarded a penalty when Walcott tangled with Jonny Evans in the area. De Gea has had a mixed start to his Old Trafford career but he was engulfed by his team-mates as he dived to his right to make a fine save.

And United ensured Arsenal were punished heavily as Young added the second after 28 minutes. Young found space just outside the area and curled a perfect finish high beyond Szczesny's grasp at the Stretford End.

PREMIER LEAGUE'S BIGGEST WINS

  • Man Utd 9-0 Ipswich - Mar 95
  • Tottenham 9-1 Wigan - Nov 09
  • Chelsea 8-0 Wigan - May 10
  • Newcastle 8-0 Sheff Wed - Sep 99
  • M'brough 8-1 Man City - May 08
  • Nottm For 1-8 Man Utd - Feb 99
  • Chelsea 7-0 Stoke - Apr 10
  • Arsenal 7-0 Everton - May 05
  • Blackburn 7-0 Nottm For - Nov 95
  • Man Utd 7-0 Barnsley - Oct 97
  • Arsenal 7-0 M'brough - Jan 06

Welbeck's game was cut short by a hamstring injury - but there was no respite for Arsenal as Rooney worked a free-kick routine with Young to send a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner as the interval approached.

Walcott halted some of United's momentum when he took advantage of slack marking to shoot beneath De Gea in first-half injury time.

It made little difference amid the carnage of the second half as Arsenal were torn apart amid a torrent of goals, near misses and saves from the desperately exposed Szczesny.

Arsenal survived until the 64th minute when they were undone by another piece of Rooney creation at a set-piece, again linking with Young before dispatching the finish past the motionless Arsenal keeper.

It was the breaking point for Arsenal and they spent the remainder of game in a constant state of siege. Rooney was the creator for Nani with the pass that gave the Portuguese the opportunity to send a flamboyant chipped finish over Szczesny for United's fifth.

Wenger 'hurt' by humiliating defeat

With the Gunners in disarray, Park marked his arrival as substitute by lashing home an unstoppable finish before Van Persie briefly interrupted the one-way flow towards Arsenal's goal by beating De Gea.

It barely seemed possible for matters to get worse for Arsenal, but the agony increased when Jenkinson was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for fouling Javier Hernandez as he raced clear.

Rooney completed his thrilling treble with a penalty eight minutes from time after Walcott fouled Patrice Evra.

And United completed the scoring with their eighth in injury time, Young once again showing his eye for the spectacular with another curling shot.

Wenger cut a despairing figure as he walked back to the dressing room at the final whistle after one of the darkest days of his career.

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester United

  • 01 De Gea
  • 03 Evra
  • 04 Jones
  • 06 Evans Booked
  • 12 Smalling
  • 08 Anderson (Giggs - 68' )
  • 17 Nani (Park Ji-sung - 68' )
  • 18 Young Booked
  • 23 Cleverley
  • 10 Rooney
  • 19 Welbeck (Hernandez - 35' )

Substitutes

  • 34 Lindegaard
  • 05 Ferdinand
  • 20 F Da Silva
  • 11 Giggs
  • 13 Park Ji-sung
  • 09 Berbatov
  • 14 Hernandez

Arsenal

  • 13 Szczesny
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 20 Djourou Booked
  • 25 Jenkinson Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 30 Traore
  • 07 Rosicky
  • 14 Walcott (Lansbury - 83' )
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 23 Arshavin Booked
  • 39 Coquelin (Oxlade-Chamberlain - 62' )
  • 10 Van Persie (Chamakh - 83' )

Substitutes

  • 21 Fabianski
  • 49 Miquel
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 46 Lansbury
  • 53 Ozyakup
  • 29 Chamakh
  • 54 Sunu
Ref: H Webb
Att: 75,448

Match Stats

Shots

25 19

On target

15 13

Corners

3 5

Fouls

9 7

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:26 Full time

Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.

90:00 +3:04

Chris Smalling gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marouane Chamakh. Free kick taken by Andrey Arshavin.

90:00 +2:32

Effort on goal by Ji-Sung Park from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.

90:00 +0:55

Ryan Giggs provided the assist for the goal.

90:00 +0:55 Goal scored

Goal! - Ashley Young - Man Utd 8 - 2 Arsenal Goal scored by Ashley Young from the edge of the area to the top right corner of the goal. Man Utd 8-2 Arsenal.

90:00 +0:17

Andrey Arshavin produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.

89:38

The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Johan Djourou.

88:22

Chris Smalling sends in a cross, save by Wojciech Szczesny.

87:40

Foul by Patrice Evra on Aaron Ramsey, free kick awarded. Johan Djourou restarts play with the free kick.

87:08

The assistant referee signals for offside against Javier Hernandez. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

85:49

Shot from just outside the penalty box by Aaron Ramsey misses to the left of the target.

84:29

The referee blows for offside against Ashley Young. Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.

82:51

Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

82:51 Substitution

Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Henri Lansbury coming on for Theo Walcott.

82:51 Substitution

Substitution Robin van Persie leaves the field to be replaced by Marouane Chamakh.

82:51

The official flags Ashley Young offside.

81:04

Assist on the goal came from Patrice Evra.

81:04 Goal scored

Goal! - Wayne Rooney - Man Utd 7 - 2 Arsenal Wayne Rooney scores a placed penalty. Man Utd 7-2 Arsenal.

80:01

Penalty awarded for a foul by Theo Walcott on Patrice Evra.

76:07

Wayne Rooney shoots direct from the free kick.

76:07 Dismissal

Dismissal The referee sends off Carl Jenkinson for second bookable offence.

75:57

Javier Hernandez fouled by Carl Jenkinson, the ref awards a free kick.

75:05

Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.

73:13

Assist on the goal came from Carl Jenkinson.

73:13 Goal scored

Goal! - Robin van Persie - Man Utd 6 - 2 Arsenal Robin van Persie grabs a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 6-2 Arsenal.

71:23

Corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, Laurent Koscielny has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.

71:06

Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Ryan Giggs gets a block in.

69:38

Assist on the goal came from Ashley Young.

69:38 Goal scored

Goal! - Ji-Sung Park - Man Utd 6 - 1 Arsenal Ji-Sung Park fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 6-1 Arsenal.

69:03

Wayne Rooney has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area striking the post.

67:18 Substitution

Substitution Ji-Sung Park joins the action as a substitute, replacing Luis Nani.

67:18 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Giggs on for Oliveira Anderson.

66:08

The assist for the goal came from Wayne Rooney.

66:08 Goal scored

Goal! - Luis Nani - Man Utd 5 - 1 Arsenal Luis Nani gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the area low into the middle of the goal. Man Utd 5-1 Arsenal.

65:10

Corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, clearance made by Chris Smalling.

63:38

Assist by Ashley Young.

63:38 Goal scored

Goal! - Wayne Rooney - Man Utd 4 - 1 Arsenal Wayne Rooney fires in a goal from outside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 4-1 Arsenal.

62:42

Free kick taken by Wayne Rooney.

62:42 Booking

Booking Johan Djourou receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

62:39

Johan Djourou challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick.

61:34 Substitution

Substitution Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is brought on as a substitute for Francis Coquelin.

61:00

Luis Nani takes a shot. Johan Djourou manages to make a clearance.

60:50

Ashley Young takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

60:33

Javier Hernandez takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

59:55

The ball is delivered by Luis Nani, clearance made by Johan Djourou.

58:34

Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save made by David De Gea.

58:17

Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a comfortable save.

55:54

Short corner taken by Robin van Persie. The assistant referee signals for offside against Javier Hernandez. Laurent Koscielny restarts play with the free kick.

55:25

Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Jonathan Evans gets a block in.

54:25

Ashley Young delivers the ball.

53:25

Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Blocked by Oliveira Anderson.

52:56

Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.

51:31

Oliveira Anderson takes a inswinging corner.

51:27

Wayne Rooney delivers the ball, Johan Djourou makes a clearance.

50:20

Patrice Evra challenges Theo Walcott unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Johan Djourou.

49:27

Effort on goal by Luis Nani from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

47:52

Ashley Young sends in a cross.

47:30

Ashley Young takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

46:05

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Johan Djourou by Wayne Rooney. Johan Djourou takes the free kick.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +3:52 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +2:53

The assist for the goal came from Tomas Rosicky.

45:00 +2:53 Goal scored

Goal! - Theo Walcott - Man Utd 3 - 1 Arsenal Theo Walcott finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Man Utd 3-1 Arsenal.

45:00 +1:19

Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

45:00 +0:27

The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.

43:46

Inswinging corner taken by Oliveira Anderson from the right by-line, Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

42:50

Carl Jenkinson crosses the ball.

42:09

Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Jonathan Evans gets a block in.

40:56

The assist for the goal came from Ashley Young.

40:56 Goal scored

Goal! - Wayne Rooney - Man Utd 3 - 0 Arsenal Wayne Rooney grabs a goal from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 3-0 Arsenal.

39:51

Free kick taken by Wayne Rooney.

39:51 Booking

Booking The referee cautions Carl Jenkinson for unsporting behaviour.

39:37

Foul by Carl Jenkinson on Ashley Young, free kick awarded.

38:05

Johan Djourou challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. Luis Nani produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.

36:24

Shot from outside the box by Andrey Arshavin goes wide right of the target.

34:56 Substitution

Substitution Javier Hernandez on for Danny Welbeck.

31:52

Free kick awarded for a foul by Oliveira Anderson on Francis Coquelin. Free kick taken by Johan Djourou.

31:43

Tom Cleverley crosses the ball, Johan Djourou makes a clearance.

30:52

The ball is sent over by Wayne Rooney, Headed effort from close range by Danny Welbeck goes wide left of the target.

30:16

Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save by David De Gea. Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.

27:56 Goal scored

Goal! - Ashley Young - Man Utd 2 - 0 Arsenal A goal is scored by Ashley Young from outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal.

26:46

Corner taken by Tomas Rosicky from the left by-line.

26:29 Penalty

Placed penalty taken by Robin van Persie saved by David De Gea. Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal.

26:08 Booking

Booking The referee cautions Jonathan Evans for unsporting behaviour.

26:07 Booking

Booking Ashley Young is cautioned by the ref for dissent.

25:23

Penalty awarded for a foul by Jonathan Evans on Theo Walcott.

23:15

Effort from inside the area by Chris Smalling misses to the left of the target.

21:23

Oliveira Anderson provided the assist for the goal.

21:23 Goal scored

Goal! - Danny Welbeck - Man Utd 1 - 0 Arsenal Danny Welbeck scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal.

21:00

The ball is delivered by Patrice Evra, clearance made by Armand Traore.

20:40

Handball decision goes against Andrey Arshavin. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jones.

19:58

The ball is sent over by Theo Walcott.

17:29

Corner from the right by-line taken by Robin van Persie, Headed effort from close range by Laurent Koscielny goes wide left of the goal.

17:12

Tomas Rosicky takes a shot. Blocked by Oliveira Anderson.

16:52

The ball is swung over by Carl Jenkinson, clearance made by Phil Jones.

16:36

Robin van Persie crosses the ball.

16:02

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Oliveira Anderson from the right by-line, save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

14:52

Chris Smalling takes the direct free kick.

14:52 Booking

Booking Andrey Arshavin goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.

14:41

Phil Jones fouled by Andrey Arshavin, the ref awards a free kick.

13:04

Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny.

11:34

Luis Nani crosses the ball, Headed effort on goal by Danny Welbeck from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the goal.

10:53

Theo Walcott produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses wide left of the target.

10:07

Tom Cleverley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey. Aaron Ramsey takes the free kick.

9:53

Foul by Wayne Rooney on Laurent Koscielny, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Johan Djourou.

7:13

Aaron Ramsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck. Free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.

6:30

Effort from the edge of the area by Danny Welbeck goes wide of the right-hand post.

6:04

The ball is sent over by Luis Nani.

4:55

Carl Jenkinson takes a shot. Jonathan Evans gets a block in.

4:14

Tom Cleverley concedes a free kick for a foul on Aaron Ramsey. Aaron Ramsey restarts play with the free kick.

3:58

Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a comfortable save.

2:09

Tom Cleverley has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

0:00

The match begins.

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