10/11/2013 13:51 GMT | Updated 13/11/2013 12:55 GMT

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal: 5 Talking Points

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Barclays Premier League Match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Tom Purslow/Man Utd via Getty Images)

Robin van Persie's third Manchester United goal in as many games against former club Arsenal secured a 1-0 victory for the Barclays Premier League champions.

Here are five talking points from Old Trafford...


Although Olivier Giroud was apparently more concerned about his looks than scoring, Arsène Wenger had no choice but to persist with the Frenchman, who was eventually paired with Nicklas Bendtner. The Dane fecklessly shirked a goalscoring chance yet was the outstanding attacking option available on the bench.

The injured Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski are not championship-winning squad players, and Arsenal will have to bolster their squad if they are to remain top of the Premier League table in May.


Gary Neville’s analysis of Wayne Rooney was a telling insight into England’s approach. Roy Hodgson’s lieutenant lauded Rooney’s pressing and aggression yet didn’t care to comment on his wastefulness in possession or his suspicious first touch.

Robin van Persie was, somewhat understandably, sacrificed because he didn't cover as much ground as the England striker. He was superior in possession, however, and while the circumstances demanded some security in Nemanja Vidić's absence Arsenal still created some good chances.


Slow and overly cautious, Mikel Arteta was lucky not to be sent off midweek in Dortmund and was fortunate to last 83 minutes at Old Trafford. Wenger is running out of excuses to keep him in the starting XI, and in Mathieu Flamini, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey has a livelier trio to complement the forward players.


As cruel a remark as it was, there was some substance to one United fan opining Ryan Giggs's introduction had reduced United to 10 men. The aim of his arrival at the expense of Van Persie was, purportedly, to help United keep possession when Giggs is incredibly careless in possession. Moyes reneged on that approach when Marouane Fellaini was introduced to play off Rooney seven minutes later, as United reverted to long ball tactics.

Eight points adrift of Arsenal at kick-off, any win anyhow was essential for Moyes, and he has registered that. Some United purists may be concerned by the slender circumstances at home again, although they suffered enough under Moyes' predecessor.


Accused of trying to walk the ball into the net during their success-starved period, Arsenal have invariably frustrated their fickle followers with their crossing phobia. But in Bacary Sagna, they have one of the best in the league, judging by his performance on Sunday.

The Gunners' best chances stemmed from the right-back's wickedly whipped balls into the dreaded Corridor of Uncertainty, and United were careless in granting him so much space. At times, Sagna himself looked hesitant as to whether he should cross a ball, perhaps in case Wenger censured him for aerial football. Now he has an excuse to clear the decks.