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 (and I joined them in swearing at him whenever he appeared on my screen)- was on target inside three minutes with his 10th goal of the season. 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, at least temporarily, 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 Arsenal, 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.