Robin van Persie scored against his former club for the third game in a row as Manchester United edged Arsenal 1-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.
It was no surprise that van Persie was Arsenal's nemesis; the striker has now scored in the last five matches between the two teams and his 27th-minute header was responsible for deciding this encounter, inflicting a blow to the momentum Arsene Wenger's men have built up this term.
Neither side were at their best during the much-anticipated fixture and although Arsenal improved after the break, they lacked cutting edge, with Wayne Rooney going closest to scoring in the second half when he shot just wide.
One goal was enough for David Moyes' side, though, who are now unbeaten in nine matches, as Arsenal – who entered the match on the back of wins over Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund – failed to reinstate their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Van Persie headlined Manchester United's four changes from their goalless draw against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, while Michael Carrick and Jonny Evans also came in after overcoming calf and back niggles.
A sickness bug forced Arsenal into two changes, Thomas Vermaelen and Mathieu Flamini coming in for Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky, who were not even among the replacements.
Arsenal shaded a cagey opening in which United's Rooney was the only player to test a goalkeeper, albeit with a relatively tame effort from distance.
Van Persie breathed life into the contest, though, converting the first genuine chance of the game from a Rooney corner.
The Netherlands star rose above Oliver Giroud and produced a soaring header that crashed into the top-right corner, too well-placed for Kieran Gibbs – who was on the line – to do anything about.
Arsenal were unable to muster a significant response before the break, but were thankful to see goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny emerge from a nasty clash of heads with Phil Jones in good health.
Manchester United were not so lucky, with defender Nemanja Vidic failing to return after being hit on the head by the hip of his own goalkeeper, David De Gea, on the stroke of half-time.
Arsenal improved after the break but struggled to create clear-cut chances, Mesut Ozil going closest when firing into the side-netting in the 58th minute.
Rooney nearly doubled United's lead on the hour mark after Arsenal's defence failed to clear a clever flick-on header from Shinji Kagawa, but, after feigning to shoot and creating space, the England star tugged his left-footed effort past the right post with Szczesny beaten.
A long-range effort from Gibbs tested De Gea when it took a late van Persie deflection while Chris Smalling failed to take advantage of a teasing cross from the goalscorer at the other end.
There was a late chance for Giroud, but his shot on the turn went wide as United held on for a crucial win that sees them rise to fifth in the table.
|20||R. van Persie||27'|
|Coach: D. Moyes|
for N. Vidić 46'
for S. Kagawa 78'
for R. van Persie 85'
|Osorio set to take charge of Mexico|
|Lewandowski expects to be targeted by Scotland|
|Kramaric frustrated with Leicester role|
|Fowler: I´d love to join Klopp at Liverpool|
|Nigeria v DR Congo: Visa chaos undermines friendly|
|Ramos: Benitez can speak to me about penalty|
|Portugal v Denmark: Ronaldo & Co on the brink of Euro 2016 finals|
|You can´t build a team around Ronaldo - Cruyff|
|Germany without Podolski for final qualifiers|
|Bosnia hopeful Dzeko can face Wales|
|Sevilla rule out move for United outcast Valdes|
|Kovacic criticises distant relationship with Mancini|
|England call up Walker, Townsend as Stones drops out|
|Amalfitano released by West Ham|
|Torres defends Benitez over ´defensive´ jibes|
|Beckham predicts Premier League return for Ancelotti|
|Cabaye relishing competition from Diarra|
|Dybala is already a star - Martino|
|Bayern and Germany legend Muller suffering from Alzheimer´s|
|Diarra thanks Deschamps for France recall|
|Scotland v Poland: Newcomer Shinnie boosted by confidence in Strachan´s squad|
|Doumbia rules out Roma return|
|France v Armenia: Deschamps has faith in Giroud|
|Cruyff critical of Van Gaal and Mourinho|
|Kuwait v South Korea: Perfect records on the line|
|Sneijder: Netherlands face two finals to reach France|
|Beckham backs Giggs as future Manchester United manager|
|Northern Ireland v Greece: Norwood confident of qualification|
|Jovetic slams ´absurd´ injury reports|
|Keane slams Sunderland hierarchy after Advocaat exit|
|Republic of Ireland v Germany: Gundogan doesn´t want to play for a draw|
|Beckham reflects fondly on relationship with Ferguson|
|Tax charges dropped against Messi|
|Gundogan: Klopp would be a great fit for Liverpool|
|´He didn´t have the baby´ - New father Keane expected to line-up for Ireland|
|Bertrand eager to state England case|
|Nedved warns Pogba: You can´t have everything|
|Sakho: I was like a caged lion on the sidelines|
|Honda hits back at Mihajlovic: There´s no point in blaming the players|
|Tottenham´s fitness too much for opponents - Dier|
|Ramos withdraws from Spain squad due to shoulder injury|
|Gundogan and Boateng praise in-form Muller|
|Janmaat ruled out of Netherlands qualifiers|
|Benitez: Defensive? My Napoli team scored 104 goals!|
|Ronaldo not untouchable and will be rested, says Benitez|
|Barca, Madrid and United are Bayern´s Champions League rivals - Effenberg|
|Neymar will stay at Barcelona for his ´entire life´ - Robert|
|Klopp would deliver at any club - Can|
|O´Neill: I didn´t prostitute myself for Grealish|
|Mourinho burning out his players - Capello|
|Lewandowski´s stunning form ´does not make Poland a better team´|
|Barcelona are looking at January signings, confirms Robert|
|Deschamps: I won´t sub Benzema|
|Chung Mong-Joon expects FIFA suspension|
|Mourinho: Ferguson knew I didn´t want United job|
|Ferguson´s hairdryer treatment inspired players – Ronaldo|
|Jordan v Australia: Visitors ready for tough trip|
|Falcao confident of Chelsea turnaround|
|Syria v Japan: Top spot up for grabs|
|Euro giants are scared of playing Wales - Coleman|
|Benzema must convert more chances - Benitez|
|Nasri happy for future without France|
|Van Persie situation concerns Blind|
|Walcott almost unstoppable - Coquelin|
|Bale named as Wales player of the year once more|
|Rojo latest player ruled out of Argentina qualifiers|
|Rooney underwhelmed by Capello as England manager|
|Martial keen to play down ´new Henry´ tag|
|Watzke dismisses Dortmund´s Bundesliga prospects|
|Deschamps calls for Pogba improvement|
|Totti steps up injury rehab|
|Watzke talks up ´great coach´ Klopp amid Liverpool rumours|
|Del Bosque calls up San Jose, Etxeita and Gaspar after injury setbacks|
|Cech happy to see Sanchez back up to top speed|
|Swiss authorities reject FIFA official´s extradition appeal|
|Casillas impressed by ´fantastic´ Navas|
|Rodgers expects transitional Liverpool to improve following sacking|
|Mourinho charged by FA|
|Messi´s absence no excuse for Argentina - Mascherano|
|Deschamps praises Martial for tackling doubters over United move|
|Inter have faith in Mancini - Zanetti|
|Romero accepts number two status behind De Gea|
|Lokomotiv Moscow charged with ´racist behaviour´|
|Deco: Ronaldo dedication borders on sickness|
|Conte calls for Balotelli consistency after Berardi blow|
|Mata: United unacceptable at Arsenal|
|Carvajal blow for Spain as Real confirm ankle injury|
|Xavi wants Barcelona return|
|Bayern can be super successful this season - Effenberg|
|´Stop e-mailing about Muller´ - Rummenigge warns Manchester United|
|Chile are not favourites against Brazil - Jefferson|
|Lewandowski success down to absence of Robben and Ribery - Beckenbauer|
|Deco: Mourinho playing games with the media|
|Pauleta challenges Ibrahimovic to deliver Champions League for PSG|
|Ched Evans case referred to Court of Appeal|
|Pardew hails ´lieutenant´ Cabaye|
|Mourinho receives Chelsea backing|
|Neymar must not focus on replacing Messi - Juninho|
|Insigne warns against Maradona comparisons|
|Navas: Research helped me save Griezmann penalty|
|Benzema unhappy with substitution|
|Mertesacker hails Sanchez and Ozil|
|Struggle against relegation ´not my cup of tea´ - Advocaat|
|We are behind De Boer - Bazoer|
|Ibrahimovic: I want to continue making history at PSG|
|Beckenbauer: Bayern and Guardiola are a perfect fit|
|Carrick: Manchester United will come back stronger|
|Redknapp plays down Sunderland talk|
|Lacazette replaces Ntep in France squad|
|Aguero on par with Messi and Suarez, says Zabaleta|
|"Special" Klopp perfect for Liverpool - Redknapp|
|Dybala: Juventus must improve defensively|
|Kaka replaces Coutinho in Brazil squad|
|Cazorla: Arsenal´s changed mentality made the difference|
|A-League Preview: Victory the team to beat in bid for back-to-back titles|
|Gervinho favouritism talk ´nonsense´ - Garcia|
|Benitez explains Benzema substitution|
|Klaassen, Promes withdrawn from Dutch squad|
|MLS Review: Galaxy, Dallas into play-offs|
|Aguero at Messi, Ronaldo level - Pellegrini|
|Sampdoria ´could´ve won 11-1´ - president Ferrero|
|Mihajlovic: I will not resign|
|Derby draw a good result - Benzema|
|I´ll quit if the players don´t trust me - Mourinho|
|Simeone disappointed not to claim derby victory|
|Blanc not surprised by record-breaking Ibrahimovic|
|Serie A Review: Fiorentina out in front as Napoli thump Milan|
|Benitez rues dropped points|
|Allegri: No crisis at Juventus|