Terrace View – Van Persie Scores on Return to Arsenal – By Billie Marshall

Robin Van Persie scored on his first return to the Emirates to deal Arsenal a blow in their pursuit of a top four finish.

Van Persie’s first half penalty had cancelled out an early Theo Walcott opener as Arsenal fall behind Chelsea in the Premier League table, having played a game more.

Having secured the title in their last game, United were met by a guard of honour from the Arsenal players, but it was a performance from United which seemed lacklustre early on.

Needing to win all their remaining games to overhaul Chelsea’s Premier League points record, it was perhaps a result which has a bigger impact on the home side.

Arsenal were quick starters and shown the intensity and tenacity which they lacked in many games earlier the season.

Robin Van Persie, booed by the majority of the home support, was guilty of losing the ball on the half way line. Thomas Rosicky slipped the ball inside of Patrice Evra before Walcott calmly finished past David De Gea.

Arsenal continued their early dominance and De Gea was forced into a save when Santi Cazorla’s dipping and swerving effort was goal-bound.

Despite their poor start, United had the better of the chances. Van Persie was freed down the left and his clipped ball found Phil Jones but his header missed the target from 10 yards out.

In an identical move moments later, Nani crossed for Van Persie but his close range header was saved instinctively from Wojciech Szczesny.

Despite the pressure from Arsenal, it was a mistake from Sagna which gave United an opportunity to level. An under-hit back pass fell to Van Persie and his attempts to make amends gifted United a penalty, for which Van Persie emphatically put away.

After the break, Rosicky found space on the edge of the area but his shot was hit wide after a smart dummy to evade the challenge of Patrice Evra

Arsenal continued to remain patient, but the intensity of the first half lacked on both sides. Laurent Koscielny volleyed over before Santi Cazorla forced a smart save from compatriot De Gea.

As the game fizzed out, it was United who could have won it late on. Following an Arsenal corner, Wayne Rooney quickly countered and switched the play to Ryan Giggs, but his effort was deflected wide.

Manchester United seemed to be feeling the effects of a week of celebrations following their capture of a 20th league title but It was a result that gives Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham, a marginal advantage in the race for a coveted Champions League place with only 3 games of the season left.

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