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Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd: Match Report
Published : 28 Apr 2013 18:31:22Rss feed
Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Robin returns to deny Gunners
Robin Van Persie earned a point for Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United in a 1-1 draw on his return to Arsenal.
The former Gunners captain received the expected hot reception as soon as he stepped out at the Emirates Stadium for a guard of honour.
It was, though, Arsenal - without suspended forward Olivier Giroud - who raced into the lead as Theo Walcott beat the offside trap to fire the hosts ahead inside two minutes.
However, despite enduring plenty of cheers from the home support as passions continued to run high in the wake of his controversial move to Old Trafford last summer, Van Persie kept his cool to equalise from the spot just before half-time after being brought down by Bacary Sagna.
Neither side, though, was able to press on and claim all three points, with a draw seeing Arsenal drop into fourth place, but still two points ahead of Tottenham, albeit having played a match more in the race for Champions League qualification.
A chorus of boos greeted Van Persie as he emerged from the tunnel. Those jeers, however, were soon replaced by raucous celebration as Walcott swept the hosts ahead.
Arsenal countered quickly as the ball was worked up field to Tomas Rosicky who released Walcott down the right. The England forward was at best in line with United full-back Patrice Evra, but needed no second invitation as he raced on into the penalty area before slotting under David De Gea.
Arsenal remained on the offensive, with the United goalkeeper again called into action to beat away Santi Carzola's curling 20-yard effort.
United threatened on the break as Phil Jones sprinted the whole length of the pitch to arrive at pace in the Arsenal box as Van Persie floated over a superb cross - but could only plant his downward header wide.
The Arsenal fans were screaming for a red card in the 27th minute when Van Persie slid into Per Mertesacker for a 50/50 on the nearside, but rightly Phil Dowd produced a yellow.
And United would have levelled in the 38th minute but for a superb reaction save from Wojciech Szczesny.
Nani broke quickly down the left and crossed into the six-yard box, where Van Persie sent his point-blank bullet header goalwards. Somehow, though, Szczesny spread-eagled himself to take the full force of the ball square in his face.
The equaliser eventually came a minute before the break after Sagna inexplicably gave the ball away to Van Persie, who sprinted on into the area.
The France full-back recovered ground, but then slid in to trip his former team-mate, and Dowd immediately pointed to the spot and Van Persie kept cool.
Arsenal started the second half with some purpose, as Rosicky's curled effort flew just wide.
Rafael then lifted an angled drive over the bar from 20 yards before Rooney's downward header was gathered by the Arsenal keeper at the second attempt.
Arsenal briefly rallied heading into the final 20 minutes, with Jones blocking a effort from Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny firing over from the corner.
De Gea turned away a low strike from Carzola, before United substitute Ryan Giggs had a curling effort deflected behind following a quick counter and both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
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