Robin van Persie has broken Arsenal hearts on his first return to the Emirates, after converting from the penalty spot to give United a draw in their Premier League match against Arsenal. Van Persie, who walked into the home changing room instead of the away as a joke, had the worst possible start to the match, as Arsenal were up within two minutes. The Dutchman gave away the ball the ball around the halfway line, and Arsenal worked the ball up to Tomas Rosicky. Rosicky thread a through ball in behind the United defense to Theo Walcott down the right, who was a yard-and-a-half offside. But no call was given, and Walcott took the ball up to United goalkeeper David De Gea, before powering a shoot across goal which De Gead couldn’t tip wide, allowing the ball to sneak into the bottom corner. After taking the lead so early Arsenal started to dominate, and Santi Cazorla hit a screaming left-footer from twenty-five yards out in the seventh minute. De Gea dealt with it well, clawing the shot over the bar.
After a blistering start United slowly made their way into the match, and should have taken the lead in the eighteenth minute when Rooney played it out to Van Persie on the left. Van Persie dinked a lovely cross to the edge of the box where Phil Jones met it with a header that flew inches wide of the near post. Arsenal still looked the better side though, and after Aaron Ramsey was set free down the middle Arsenal looked sure to score, but instead of playing it to Walcott in acres of space down the right, opted to play it to Lukas Podolski on the left, who was forced wide, but still managed to make De Gea beat away his shot from a tight angle.
United started to look like they could equalize, and after Van Persie forced Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to use his face to block the Dutchman’s close ranger header, United grabbed an equalizer in the forty-fourth minute when Bacary Sagna played a pass straight to Van Persie in his own half. Van Persie sped down the left, and Sagna managed to catch up with him, only to send Van Persie flying inside the Arsenal box. Referee Phil Dowe awarded a penalty, which despite the Arsenal fans loud boos, Van Persie slammed into the top right corner. Neither side could take the lead before halftime though, and the half ended 1-1 after three minutes of added time.
United kicked off the second half with much more pace, but Rosicky almost put the Gunners in front with curling a shot ith the outside of his boot that flew just wide of the post from the edge of the box. The Red Devils almost took the lead in the fifty-fifth minute when Patrice Evra’s cross from the left found Rooney in the middle of the box, and the Englishman impressively leaped up and headed the cross into the ground, which bounced back up at Szczesny almost catching the goalkeeper off his guard. United were in complete control, but Arsenal had the majority of the chances, with Cazorla hitting a swerving shot from twenty-five yards out making De Gea dive to his left to push it wide. But Arsenal could not get that crucial goal in their hopes of Champions League qualification, and after three minutes of injury time, the match ended 1-1.
Man of the Match: Tomas Rosicky