Robin van Persie provided a painful illustration of what Arsenal are missing as he set Manchester United on the way to a comfortable win against his former club at Old Trafford.
The striker - who received a hostile reception from the fans who once idolised him, following his £24m summer move from Arsenal to United - was on target inside three minutes with his 10th goal of the season.
Deadly Van Persie
Robin van Persie has now scored against all current Premier League clubs. Only one other player has done this - Yakubu
Source: Infostrada Sports
United were in such command that they could even afford a missed penalty from Wayne Rooney before Patrice Evra wrapped up the victory with a second-half header.
And to make matters worse on a miserable day for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger, Jack Wilshere was sent off with 20 minutes left after receiving a second yellow card from referee Mike Dean for an overzealous challenge on Evra.
Santi Cazorla pulled a goal back for the Gunners with the final kick of the game but the scoreline was not a true reflection of United's obvious supremacy in all areas.
The result put United top of the Premier League with three points collected with the minimum of fuss in the 44th meeting between Wenger and his great adversary Sir Alex Ferguson.
For the visitors, defeat leaves them with 15 points from 10 games, their worst start to a Premier League season under Wenger. It may not have been the humiliation of last season's 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford but Arsenal's manager will struggle to take any positives from this performance.
Arsenal's visiting support made their contempt for one-time hero Van Persie clear when his name was announced before kick-off - but the Dutchman was soon punishing his former club as he put United ahead early on.
Thomas Vermaelen set the tone for a poor display with a bad clearance that sent Rafael's cross straight into the path of Van Persie, who did not hesitate before sending a low right-foot finish past keeper Vito Mannone.
It was a goal scored in close proximity to Arsenal's fans but Van Persie declined to milk the moment and his celebration was muted as he was mobbed by delighted team-mates.
Van Persie almost added his second when he was played in by Rooney's angled pass but his powerful rising shot was well saved by Mannone.
Did you know?
- Man Utd have now scored in 54 successive Premier League home games (the PL record) and have not failed to score at Old Trafford in the PL since 12 December 2009 against Aston Villa
- There have been 10 penalties in the Premier League meetings between Arsenal and Man Utd in the Wenger era (eight for United, two for Arsenal); all at Old Trafford and six have been missed
- Eight of those penalties have come in the last 10 meetings between United and Arsenal at Old Trafford
- Man Utd have won nine and lost just one of their last 11 games against Arsenal in all competitions
Arsenal were struggling desperately, a problem exemplified by the hapless Andre Santos's woeful attempts to defend their left-flank in the face of the pace and penetration of Antonio Valencia.
Mannone, at least, was distinguishing himself and he did well again to block from Rooney as United continued to dominate.
There had been little for Arsenal to cling to in a dismal first half but they were at least given some hope as half-time approached. Referee Dean awarded a penalty after Cazorla raised his arms to block Ashley Young's cross. Rooney stepped forward to take the kick but missed his seventh penalty out of 20 in the Premier League by shooting low and wide.
Theo Walcott, surprisingly only named as substitute after his hat-trick in the 7-5 Capital One Cup win at Reading in midweek, finally entered the action after 51 minutes as a replacement for Aaron Ramsey after the Welshman injured his groin. It was the signal for the visitors to threaten at last, Olivier Giroud striking the outside of the post from an acute angle.
Valencia had missed an open goal from Van Persie's pass seconds after the break and the Netherlands striker was also thwarted by another fine stop from Mannone - but it was a brief reprieve for Arsenal.
Rooney took possession of a short corner and the diminutive Evra found space among Arsenal's defenders to head comfortably past Mannone after 67 minutes.
The Gunners' plight worsened moments later when Wilshere, who had been combative throughout, was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Evra. He could have no complaints although his fate was in sharp contrast to Tom Cleverley, who was hastily removed by Ferguson as he ran a similar risk for a tackle on Wilshere following an earlier booking.
Cazorla's fine curled finish provided nothing in the way of consolation for Arsenal as this performance demonstrated just how far they have to travel before they can even consider themselves title contenders once more.
- 01 De Gea
- 02 Rafael
- 03 Evra
- 05 Ferdinand
- 06 Evans
- 07 Valencia (Nani - 82' )
- 16 Carrick
- 18 Young Booked
- 23 Cleverley Booked (Anderson - 61' Booked )
- 10 Rooney Booked
- 20 Van Persie Booked
- 13 Lindegaard
- 31 Wootton
- 08 Anderson
- 17 Nani
- 22 Scholes
- 25 Powell
- 14 Hernandez
- 24 Mannone
- 03 Sagna
- 04 Mertesacker
- 05 Vermaelen
- 11 Santos
- 08 Arteta Booked
- 10 Wilshere Dismissed after an earlier booking
- 16 Ramsey (Walcott - 52' )
- 19 Cazorla
- 09 Podolski (Arshavin - 81' Booked )
- 12 Giroud
- 36 Martinez
- 06 Koscielny
- 25 Jenkinson
- 14 Walcott
- 22 Coquelin
- 23 Arshavin
- 29 Chamakh
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +4:12
Andrey Arshavin provided the assist for the goal.90:00 +4:12 Goal scored
Goal! - Santi Cazorla - Man Utd 2 - 1 Arsenal Santi Cazorla grabs a goal from just inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal.90:00 +1:43
Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.89:58
Wayne Rooney restarts play with the free kick.89:58 Booking
Booking Booking for Mikel Arteta.89:50
Unfair challenge on Robin van Persie by Mikel Arteta results in a free kick.87:31
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie from the right by-line to the near post, Luis Nani takes a shot. Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.87:20
Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Rio Ferdinand gets a block in.82:58
Wayne Rooney takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Olivier Giroud makes a clearance.82:16
Direct free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.82:16 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Andrey Arshavin for unsporting behaviour.82:11
Andrey Arshavin challenges Rafael Da Silva unfairly and gives away a free kick.80:41
Per Mertesacker takes the direct free kick.80:41 Substitution
Substitution Antonio Valencia leaves the field to be replaced by Luis Nani.80:41 Substitution
Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Andrey Arshavin coming on for Lukas Podolski.80:41 Booking
Booking Wayne Rooney is booked.80:35
Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on Theo Walcott.79:12
The referee blows for offside against Oliveira Anderson. Vito Mannone takes the free kick.77:16
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna by Ashley Young. Bacary Sagna takes the free kick.
The referee blows for offside against Robin van Persie. Vito Mannone takes the free kick.75:10
Effort from deep inside the area by Theo Walcott clears the bar.73:15
Foul by Clarindo Andre Santos on Robin van Persie, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.71:25
Mikel Arteta restarts play with the free kick.71:25 Booking
Booking Oliveira Anderson receives a yellow card.71:21
Oliveira Anderson concedes a free kick for a foul on Mikel Arteta.70:07
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Blocked by Mikel Arteta.68:54
Direct free kick taken by Jonny Evans.68:54 Dismissal
Dismissal The referee red cards Jack Wilshere for second bookable offence.68:49
Jack Wilshere challenges Patrice Evra unfairly and gives away a free kick.67:32
Shot on goal by Oliveira Anderson from just inside the area clears the crossbar.66:01
Assist by Wayne Rooney.66:01 Goal scored
Goal! - Patrice Evra - Man Utd 2 - 0 Arsenal Patrice Evra grabs a headed goal from close in. Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal.65:49
Short corner worked by Wayne Rooney.65:28
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Vito Mannone.63:51
Michael Carrick concedes a free kick for a foul on Santi Cazorla. Jack Wilshere delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing.63:05
The assistant referee flags for offside against Ashley Young. Vito Mannone takes the free kick.59:53
Per Mertesacker takes the free kick.59:53 Substitution
Substitution Oliveira Anderson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Tom Cleverley.59:53 Booking
Booking Robin van Persie receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.59:45
Robin van Persie challenges Bacary Sagna unfairly and gives away a free kick.58:05
Jack Wilshere fouled by Tom Cleverley, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Theo Walcott.57:32
The referee penalises Robin van Persie for handball. Vito Mannone takes the indirect free kick.55:54
Clarindo Andre Santos sends in a cross.54:37
Jack Wilshere gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Robin van Persie. Robin van Persie restarts play with the free kick.53:35
Olivier Giroud takes a shot from inside the six-yard box that strikes the post.51:18 Substitution
Substitution Theo Walcott comes on in place of Aaron Ramsey.48:50
Foul by Santi Cazorla on Ashley Young, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by David De Gea.47:52
Shot from outside the box by Michael Carrick misses to the left of the target.46:42
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Wayne Rooney played to the near post, clearance by Olivier Giroud.45:58
Antonio Valencia produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.45:01
The second half begins.45:00 +3:01 Half time
Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.45:00 +2:08
Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on Mikel Arteta. Free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.45:00 +1:17
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Aaron Ramsey. Free kick taken by Jonny Evans.44:29 Penalty
Penalty taken by Wayne Rooney and missed.44:29
Santi Cazorla is penalised for handball and concedes a .43:55
Corner taken short by Wayne Rooney.43:45
The ball is delivered by Wayne Rooney, clearance made by Per Mertesacker.42:35
Rafael Da Silva challenges Lukas Podolski unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Lukas Podolski.37:42
Corner taken right-footed by Santi Cazorla to the near post, Headed effort from inside the area by Olivier Giroud misses to the left of the target.36:42
Mikel Arteta crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, clearance by Jonny Evans.36:42 Booking
Booking Tom Cleverley is booked.36:32
Foul by Tom Cleverley on Santi Cazorla, free kick awarded.34:23
Michael Carrick gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.33:53
Rafael Da Silva concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Wilshere. Direct free kick taken by Jack Wilshere.33:42
Tom Cleverley delivers the ball, clearance made by Thomas Vermaelen.32:26
The referee blows for offside. Per Mertesacker restarts play with the free kick.30:34
Unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Mikel Arteta results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jonny Evans.30:26
Clarindo Andre Santos produces a cross, save by David De Gea.28:14
Aaron Ramsey takes the free kick.28:14 Booking
Booking Ashley Young receives a yellow card.28:11
Ashley Young challenges Bacary Sagna unfairly and gives away a free kick.27:12
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save made by Vito Mannone.27:00
Effort from 12 yards by Wayne Rooney. Vito Mannone makes a save.25:31
Antonio Valencia handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Clarindo Andre Santos.24:36
Antonio Valencia fouled by Clarindo Andre Santos, the ref awards a free kick. Antonio Valencia takes the free kick.21:35
Wayne Rooney takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Olivier Giroud makes a clearance.20:56
Olivier Giroud is caught offside. Jonny Evans restarts play with the free kick.20:42
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Vito Mannone.17:41
The ball is delivered by Ashley Young, Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.16:40
Robin van Persie is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Per Mertesacker.13:30
Free kick taken by Jonny Evans.13:30 Booking
Booking The referee books Jack Wilshere for unsporting behaviour.13:21
Jack Wilshere challenges Tom Cleverley unfairly and gives away a free kick.9:36
Clarindo Andre Santos has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.8:27
Foul by Michael Carrick on Santi Cazorla, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.7:19
Foul by Mikel Arteta on Tom Cleverley, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Michael Carrick.5:49
Unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Mikel Arteta results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.4:26
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robin van Persie by Jack Wilshere. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.2:35
The assist for the goal came from Rafael Da Silva.2:35 Goal scored
Goal! - Robin van Persie - Man Utd 1 - 0 Arsenal Robin van Persie finds the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal.0:00
The game begins.
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