Manchester United vs. Arsenal  2 - 1

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Evra: Wilshere wanted to hurt me

5 November 2012 10:51

Patrice Evra has accused Jack Wilshere of deliberately trying to hurt him with the challenge that saw him sent off at Old Trafford.

The Arsenal midfielder was shown a second yellow card by referee Mike Dean after an over-the-top challenge on the Manchester United defender in the second half, and the France international believes it was an attempt to injure him.

"I think he didn't look for the ball," Evra told reporters.

"He stood on my legs and it wasn't the first time, but the referee did a good job and that's it. That's the rule of the game."

The victory sent Sir Alex Ferguson's side top of the Premier League, but Arsene Wenger was unhappy with the referee's handling of the Wilshere situation, arguing that Evra made the most of it to get the midfielder sent off.

"Yes, of course," Wenger told reporters when asked if Evra had overreacted.

"He has 10 years in the Premier League. I thought the red card was very harsh, and I find the referee very naive.

"When you say to a player: 'For the next foul you're going to get a second yellow', that's a signal to everybody in the opposing team to dive. And of course they do it.

"That is what is absolutely useless. If you get a warning, you are saying to the other team that with the next foul, if you dive, the player is off.

"Why do referees do that? It's ­absolutely naive. To me Wilshere's tackle looked a regular challenge."

Article

Ferguson unconvinced despite win

3 November 2012 17:40

Alex Ferguson says Manchester United should have won far more convincingly after edging Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Goals from former Arsenal man Robin Van Persie and Patrick Evra wrapped up all three points for hosts United, with Santi Cazorla pulling one back for the visitors late on.

United were relatively untroubled throughout most of the match against their old rivals, and Ferguson was disappointed his team's comfort was not reflected in the margin of victory.

"You look at that scoreline, 2-1, you think it's a close game but it's wasn't a close game," Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"Chances were missed; we should have put it to bed a long, long time ago.

"There was a lack of urgency in our game throughout, far too casual.

"It was an unusual Manchester United v Arsenal game really. I know there were a lot of bookings but it didn't really get anywhere near the Manchester United v Arsenal games in the past."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his players created little despite enjoying ample possession, and feels United were well worth their victory.

"I'm disappointed of course because we had a lot of the ball, but we were not very efficient in their final third," he said.

"You feel that it was a bit of an illusionary domination - we had a lot of the ball but they created more chances and deserved to win the game.

"But part of that is down to the fact that we gave an early goal away and, in a game like that, it's a massive advantage. When they defended well, and were sharper than us in the duels, then the consequences of that is you lose the game.

Wenger declined to comment on the performance of goal-scorer Van Persie, who swapped north London for the red half of Manchester in the off-season.

"Honestly, that does not bother me at all," he said.

"What you want is to win the game. You don't care about who scores in their team. What is most important is that you don't make a mistake at the back and you don't give chances away."

Article

Van Persie respectful after Arsenal reunion

3 November 2012 16:37

Robin van Persie hailed Manchester United's victory over Arsenal as a 'special day' after the 29-year-old scored against his former club.

Hosts United ran out 2-1 winners in a game they dominated after Van Persie opened the scoring inside three minutes at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Netherlands international has scored eight goals in ten English Premier League games for Alex Ferguson's side and has now scored against all 20 of the clubs in the league.

"It was special day, and I think we played well," he told Sky Sports.

"We were a bit sloppy with chances; we should've scored two or three more. But in the end I'm happy with the three points and that's what matters.

"It's the first time I've ever played against my former club, because I only have three. Yes, it was a special day, but in the end it's about the game like I said. We won it, and I'm pleased with that.”

When asked why he didn't celebrate the goal against his former side, Van Persie said: "I think it speaks for itself; I played there eight years. I had a fantastic time there. I respect the fans, the players, the manager, the whole club. So that's why."

Van Persie and Wayne Rooney have formed a fine partnership up front for United, and the Netherlands striker believes he has found the reason why they are forming a potent double.

"We spoke about it last week, funnily enough, and I believe we are both nine-and-a-half, because we have two positions; both nine and 10," he said.

"We both play a bit behind and a bit high up, and it seems to work well. I'm very happy with him and hopefully we can keep going."

Article

Premier League: Manchester United 2 Arsenal 0

3 November 2012 16:05

Robin Van Persie scored against former club Arsenal as Manchester United defeated the Gunners 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Dutchman took just three minutes to open the scoring in his first appearance against Arsene Wenger's side since his close-season switch before Wayne Rooney missed a chance to double the lead from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Patrice Evra doubled the lead with a 66th-minute header, while an injury-time Santi Cazorla strike provided scant consolation for a disappointing Arsenal outfit.

Arsenal were forced to play the final 21 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Jack Wilshere for a second yellow card.

Van Persie took advantage of woeful Arsenal defending to score his 10th goal of the season in the opening stages.

United right-back Rafael exploited a gaping hole on the Gunners' left and when Thomas Vermaelen scuffed his clearance, the ball fell perfectly for Van Persie to shoot low into the bottom corner.

While Arsenal saw plenty of the ball in the opening period they failed to create any chances of note and looked vulnerable defensively, with left-back Andre Santos struggling in particular.

The Gunners had goalkeeper Vito Mannone to thank for keeping them in the game as the Italian made fine stops to prevent Van Persie and Rooney from extending United's advantage.

On the stroke of half-time referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot after Cazorla raised his arms and handled Ashley Young's cross. United failed to take advantage, Rooney shooting wide of the left post, his ninth miss from 26 spot-kick attempts in United colours.

Arsenal improved after the break, Olivier Giroud striking against the outside of the post from a tight angle, but United seemed in control.

The hosts' authority was confirmed when a well-worked corner routine saw Rooney clip a cross to Evra, the Frenchman nodding home amid stray Arsenal defenders.

Wilshere was sent off three minutes later for a reckless lunge on Evra by the touchline.

The game meandered to its conclusion before Cazorla sent a sublime curling effort into goal with the last kick of the match.

Article

Cazorla wants Arsenal to keep the ball

2 November 2012 15:22

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla thinks the key to victory over Manchester United on Saturday will be keeping control of possession.

The Spain international has become a key figure in the Arsenal midfield since his close-season move from Malaga, and he feels a win at Old Trafford will install huge self-belief within the players, but recognises they will have their work cut out for them.

"(A win) would be great for the team's confidence," Cazorla told the club's official website.

"To beat such a strong side at their own ground makes you stronger in all aspects.

"Let's take the example of our match against Manchester City, which was a difficult game against a tough side. The team showed incredible quality and could even have won the game, so we came out of that match much stronger than before.

"I think the key to modern football is having possession. The more you have the more you control the game. At Old Trafford we need to control the game and keep hold of the ball.

"Therefore, as well as the three points you can hopefully take from those games, you can come out stronger and take away more confidence too."

The 27-year-old said the game at Old Trafford is one of the matches that he has been looking forward to ever since he made his switch to Arsenal.

"It's a great fixture," he said.

"It's a great stadium, they're a good side and it's a big game. It will be a brilliant experience. They've got brilliant players like Robin (van Persie), (Wayne) Rooney and many more who are first class, so it will be very difficult to beat them.

"But all the players in our squad have played against some of the biggest teams in the world so it's nothing new for us."

Article

Giggs talks up Van Persie impact

2 November 2012 12:56

Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs has hailed the impact of Robin van Persie since his close-season move from Arsenal.

Van Persie has netted nine goals in 12 matches for his new club and Giggs thinks the striker's performances have given everyone a lift after United lost the English Premier League title to neighbours Manchester City last season.

"When a ready-made, world-class player comes in it gives everybody a lift," Giggs told reporters.

"And Robin is certainly that. He's proven that with his goals and all-round play since he's come to the club.

"Robin's set-piece delivery is really important to us, it's a big plus that we're scoring from set-pieces and corners.

"That's something we haven't done over the last few years as often as we'd have liked.

"So with Robin it's not just goals you get. He's helped a few different names get on the score sheet."

Van Persie comes up against former club Arsenal on Saturday, but Giggs is not expecting a repeat of the 8-2 scoreline which occurred in the corresponding fixture at Old Trafford last season.

"Last season was one of those fluke performances," he said.

"We always expect a tough performance against Arsenal. It's no different this time."

Article

Wenger calls for respect for RVP

1 November 2012 19:28

Arsene Wenger has urged the club's supporters to give Robin van Persie some respect in Saturday's clash with Manchester United.

Van Persie's move from Arsenal to United in August broke the hearts of many fans of the London club.

The match at Old Trafford will be the first time the Dutchman has come up against his former team-mates.

"I hope a respectful (reception) because he played for us for eight years," Wenger said. "He's done well, very well for us, and you want him to be respected.

"You campaign against discrimination; it was still the case last week so why should it not be the case this week?"

Van Persie scored 132 goals during his time at the Emirates, with 37 of those coming during his final season, helping Arsenal to third place in the English Premier League after a disastrous start to the campaign.

While Olivier Giroud is yet to find his feet and Marouane Chamakh remains the forgotten man despite his Capital One Cup exploits, Wenger said he has not considered what difference van Persie would make had he stayed.

"That's a question that is very difficult to answer because at the moment I am focused on doing well with the players I have," he said.

"To start to think how much we will miss him will not help us to do well."

Van Persie started his career in Manchester with a bang, scoring 11 goals in 15 games, though Wenger is not surprised.

"He is certainly the most efficient striker, and Robin is very intelligent around the box," he added.

"His technique is absolutely amazing, so with his intelligent runs he will take advantage of that."

Meanwhile, Theo Walcott's contract situation remains unresolved and with his deal expiring at the end of the season, Wenger said something needs to be done.

"There is urgency, how much I don't know, but I think we want to sort it out before Christmas one way or another," he said.

Article

Premier League preview: Manchester United v Arsenal

1 November 2012 14:31

Robin van Persie could return to haunt his former side when Arsenal make the trip to Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday.

The former Gunner has transferred much of his goal scoring prowess to the Red Devils this term with seven in nine league games and will be afforded protection from the baying Arsenal fans only by the confines of Old Trafford.

That the match between two old rivals will be the most anticipated of the weekend only serves to add extra spice to the occasion.

The Dutch international, who signed for 24 million pounds, would appear to have left a significant hole in Arsenal's leading line.

Replacements Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have scored just three goals between them in a combined 18 league games, leaving pacey winger Gervinho as the team's leading scorer with three.

Arsenal recorded a staggering comeback from 4-0 down to defeat Reading 7-5 in a pulsating League Cup clash at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday but showcased not only their ability to score rapidly, but their well-documented frailties from set pieces.

The match featured a timely hat-trick for winger Theo Walcott, whose patience with manager Arsene Wenger on a contract extension is fast running out if he is not granted his wish to be deployed as a striker.

In better news for Wenger, keeper Wojciech Szczesny could return in goal behind a defence that has let in fewer goals (six) than any other side this season, while Jack Wilshere delighted home fans with his long-awaited comeback against QPR last Saturday and could feature against United.

Meanwhile, a young Manchester United side went down to Chelsea 5-4 in extra-time at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup on Wednesday just three days after controversially defeating the Blues in the Premier League at the same ground.

United captain Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones are both still a while away with knee injuries but Chris Smalling is likely to be in contention for a place after recovering from a foot injury.

Article

Wenger pushes hard for Walcott solution

1 November 2012 12:04

Arsene Wenger wants Theo Walcott's future at Arsenal sorted before Christmas.

The England international's contract is set to run out at the end of the season and Wenger has demanded a solution to the long-running saga.

The 23-year-old has been in turmoil recently, with his position in the team under threat with the arrivals of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, as well as the re-emergence of Gervinho as a first-team regular.

Walcott wants an opportunity in the centre of the team's attack - something promised to him by Wenger - but he has not yet received that chance and is free to talk to other teams in January if circumstances do not change.

"There is urgency (in resolving his future). I want it resolved by Christmas," Wenger said.

"He loves to score goals, he has good pace and makes intelligent runs. He is a good finisher."

Arsenal face a tough task this weekend with a trip to Old Trafford after their sensational 7-5 win over Reading in the Capital One Cup.

Key players Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Abou Diaby and Gervinho will be absent, while Wenger said there would be norepeat of the last season's 8-2 win for Manchester United.

"For the belief of the team it is vital we do well on Saturday," Wenger said.

"Last year's result was down to special circumstances. We have had it behind us for a long time.

"Reading was an irrational game. It concerns me a little bit. When you are 4-0 down after 36 minutes you cannot say it is alright.

"Some of the players still have heavy legs. (There will be) no Wojciech (Szczesny), no Gibbs, no Diaby as well. Gervinho is out for three weeks.

"I will see how (Walcott) recovers, I don't know if he will play."

Wenger also spoke on former Arsenal man Robin van Persie, who made the switch to Old Trafford in the summer, with the Gunners manager hoping fans give him a 'respectful' reception.

"Saturday is not about him (for us)," Wenger said.

"It is about getting a result. I am not surprised he has been a success (for Manchester United), he makes intelligent runs.

"I hope he gets a respectful (reception). We campaign against discrimination, it should not be different this week."

Wenger also spoke on Jack Wilshere following his return to first-team action at the weekend against QPR, saying the midfielder can cope with the pressure on his shoulders.

"(Wilshere) can cope with expectations. I just would like him to enjoy playing football."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25