Sports Mole brings you live updates from Old Trafford of the Premier League meeting between Manchester United and Arsenal.
By Liam Apicella, Features Editor Filed: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 11:49 UK
Last Updated: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 17:12 UK
Unsurprisingly, all the talk leading up to this match surrounded Robin van Persie, who swapped Arsenal for United during the summer following an eight-year stint with the Gunners.
As it transpired, the Dutch striker returned to haunt his former club with a goal in the opening three minutes.
Wayne Rooney then missed a penalty for United, before Patrice Evra doubled their advantage after the restart. Santi Cazorla scored in stoppage time, but it wasn't enough for Arsenal to record a comeback.
Read our minute-by-minute updates of how the match unfolded.
11.52amMorning all. Is there a better way to start the Premier League weekend then watching Manchester United take on Arsenal? No, I don't think so either!
11.56amAs mentioned above, it's been hard to avoid all of the talk about Robin van Persie. The Dutch international upset a large number of Arsenal fans by joining United. Both managers have called upon the travelling support to give RVP a good reception. Can you see that happening?! Me neither! Anyway, enough of that for now, let's bring you the team news...
11.58amMan United X1: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Young; Rooney, Van Persie
11.59amIf my memory serves me right, United are unchanged from the side that defeated Chelsea 3-2 last time out in the Premier League. When was the last time Sir Alex Ferguson did that?!
12.03pmThe big news from an Arsenal point of view is the fact that Jack Wilshere starts again for Arsenal. The England international only made his return from a 14-month injury layoff last week against Queens Park Rangers.
12.07pmRight, sorry Arsenal fans I'm going to have to mention this - but at least I'm doing it early! When the two sides met at Old Trafford last season, the match incredibly finished 8-2 in United's favour. One of the goalscorers for Arsenal that day was Van Persie. Today, he'll be trying to stick one or two past the Gunners.
12.12pmOkay, here's a nothing negative point for Arsenal fans! Looking at the two teams, Antonio Valencia will be coming up against Andre Santos today. If the United winger can produce some of his best form, it could spell trouble for Arsenal and Santos, who has been less then convincing since he joined the club last season - and that is being kind!
12.18pmOver this years this match has produced more talking points than any other for me - and not just what has happened on the football side of things. The likes of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieria used to clash on a regular basis, while the likes of Lauren, Martin Keown, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy (I could go on) all got involved! Even the managers used to despise each other.
12.22pmIt's all a bit different now though. Those type of players have now left and there seems to be an element of friendliness and respect between the two gaffers. Let's hope that the football does the talking today instead!
12.24pmRemember the respect that the managers called for to be shown towards Van Persie? Well as his name is read over the tannoy, it has been greeted with large jeers from the away supporters. No surprise there.
12.26pmWith the start of this match just over 15 minutes away, let's give you some statistics about this match...
12.28pmThere have been 102 league matches between these two clubs at Old Trafford. United have won 60 of those, while Arsenal have come away with maximum points on 17 occasions.
12.30pmThere has also been goals aplenty! United have notched 190 from those matches. Arsenal on the other hand have 86. With the way that both sides have defended in recent weeks, there should be even more today!
12.33pmTalking of goals, Theo Walcott claimed three in the Capital One Cup in the week. Yet, he is on the bench today. That has confused Gary Lineker, who said on Twitter: "Not sure what Theo Walcott has to do to get a start for Arsenal?" What do we think Arsenal fans? Surely his pace would have caused the United defence trouble.
12.38pmAnd one more while we are talking about goals. Wayne Rooney appears to love playing against the Gunners. Everyone remembers his first goal for Everton against the Gunners. He has gone on to find the net on 10 occasions against them, only scoring more against Aston Villa.
12.40pmThe players are in the tunnel and Van Persie is reacquainting himself with his old teammates. Almost game time!
12.43pmHandshakes done. Warm-ups done. We're are just moments away now...
12.45pmArsenal, who will be attacking the Stretford End, get the match underway...
2 minUnited's first attack of the match ends with Ashley Young's cross being deflected into the hands of Vito Mannone. Very little to report other than that.
5 minThe worst possible start from an Arsenal point of view. What a nightmare for the away faithful. United full-back Rafael sends in a tame cross, but Thomas Vermaelen scuffs his clearance straight to Van Persie. That's a big mistake as the Dutch striker beats Mannone with an instant right-footed shot from the edge of the area. The frontman shows some respect by not celebrating, although his teammates go wild!
7 minArsenal now having a spell in possession without really going anywhere at the moment. They look a little unsettled if truth be told.
10 minThe away side's first shot of the match almost hits the corner flag! It's one that Andre Santos will want to forget, and quick! His side have settled a little bit now though, with Wilshere and Cazorla seeing a lot of the ball.
14 minBOOKING! Arsenal's Wilshere is the first to go in the book for a wild sliding challenge on Tom Cleverley. He can have no complaints with that.
17 minArsenal are getting so far at the moment but then appear to be running out of ideas. Their build-up play is positive, but the final ball is lacking. Surely if they keep getting Cazorla on the ball, something will happen for them.
21 minSAVE! RVP almost claims his second of the match, but his rising drive from a narrow angle is pushed clear by Mannone in the away goal. Rooney's low pass to his teammate was perfectly weighted there.
24 minSome good goalkeeping from De Gea sees the Spaniard palm clear a powerful cross from Aaron Ramsey. The Welsh international will have got by Patrice Evra too easy for Ferguson's liking though.
28 minDOUBLE SAVE! First Rooney is denied by Mannone after he lashes Michael Carrick's chipped pass straight at the keeper. Then, Van Persie's header is lacking in power and Mannone collects comfortably.
29 minBOOKING! It's now 1-1 in terms of yellow cards. United winger Young has his name taken for standing on Bacary Sagna's foot.
33 minOkay, I'm to say it! If Van Persie was playing for Arsenal here, they would at least be level. His movement has been exceptional today and considering the amount of possession the Gunners have had, he would have caused United problems.
35 minWilshere has been in the wars in the last couple of minutes. Having been clipped on the ankle by Michael Carrick, he then takes a tumble off the pitch and hurts his back. Nevertheless, he's up and back playing again.
37 minBOOKING! United are now leading in terms of yellow card as Cleverley is cautioned for a late challenge on Cazorla.
42 minThe half is petering out at the moment. Both teams are getting so far but then the move breaks down. Perhaps the half-time team talks will gee everybody up!
45+1 minThat is a long way wide by Rooney, who hits the advertising board to the left of Mannone's goal. With the miss coming so close to half-time, it could well give Arsenal a boost ahead of the restart.
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1.41pmOne thing that has been noted as the players went down the tunnel at the break was Andre Santos taking Van Persie's shirt! What's going on?! Does Santos think he was that bad that he won't be coming out for the second half? Perhaps RVP will be playing 'skins' after the break!
1.43pmAlso, on that subject, Van Persie didn't take Santos's shirt in return. Can't imagine why.
1.48pmThe players are out and no changes have been made. Surely it won't be too long until we see Theo Walcott introduced for Arsenal. United get the second half underway...
47 minCHANCE! I think Vermaelen has forgotten that Van Persie has left Arsenal! He again gives his former teammate possession wide on the right. The Dutchman crosses for Antonio Valencia but the wide man completely misses the ball and the opportunity is wasted.
49 minUnited have come out for the second half with real intent. Their second attack sees a shot from Rafael blocked, before Carrick curls his effort wide of goal.
51 minSUBSTITUTION: Here comes Theo. He has taken the place of Ramsey and will now give Evra something to think about.
54 minOFF THE POST! Best moment of the match for Arsenal as Olivier Giroud (I'd forget he was playing) turns Jonny Evans, but his low strike from a narrow angle hits the outside of the post.
57 minWhat a waste from Santos! It's a slick counter-attack from Arsenal which eventually sees Cazorla free Santos down the left. The Gunners have four men in the box, but the Brazilian sends his cross behind the goal. No doubt Arsenal have livened up now.
59 minUnited's Cleverley can count himself a little lucky to still be on the pitch. Having been booked in the first half, he has just brought down Wilshere. A free-kick is given, but a worried looking Cleverley is just spoken to by Mike Dean. Final warning I would say.
60 minBOOKING! Van Persie goes into the book for a lunging challenge on Sagna. It was a typical striker's tackle.
61 minSUBSTITUTION: Having escaped a second yellow card, Cleverley is replaced by Brazilian midfielder Anderson.
65 minA teasing whipped free-kick by Wilshere from wide on the right bounces inside the United box and evades everyone. Any sort of touch and Arsenal would probably have been level.
66 minSAVE! It's a great stop by Mannone, but Van Persie really should have his second of the match. He finds himself with time and space inside the area, but his low shot lacks power and the keeper tips wide.
68 minHow's your luck Mannone?! After the save the resultant corner is worked to Rooney, who sends over a curling cross. Despite have large numbers back, the Arsenal defence fails to pick up Patrice Evra and the full-back nods the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
70 minThings go from bad to worse for Arsenal as their playmaker sees red. He was booked earlier in the match and having just gone in late on goalscorer Evra, Wilshere is handed his marching orders. He may well point to the fact that Cleverley was let off with a similar offence a few moments ago. Nevertheless, he's off and Arsenal are down to 10 men.
72 minBOOKING! Mike Dean is card happy at the moment! The latest name he takes is that of United midfielder Anderson for obstructing Mikel Arteta.
75 minCHANCE! Cazorla storms through the United midfield and releases Walcott inside the United area. In fairness to the winger he is always stretching and the ball ends up going high and wide.
79 minDISALLOWED GOAL! Anderson thinks he has made it 3-0, only to see the linesman raise his flag after he rolls the ball into the net following a pass from Van Persie. Replays show it was the correct decision.
81 minBOOKING! It's Rooney's turn to see yellow for a blatant trip on Walcott.
82 minSUBSTITUTION: Both sides make switches as Nani takes the place of Valencia for United, while Arsenal swap Podolski for Andrey Arshavin.
82 minBOOKING! He's only been on the pitch 10 seconds but already Arshavin is booked for a mistimed tackle on Rafael.
85 minIt's now all United as they stroke the ball around the pitch with relative ease. Arsenal look a side resigned to the fact that they have lost this one.
89 minStill United keep the ball. This must be so frustrating for the visitors, who are having to work even harder following the sending off of Wilshere.
90 minFour minutes of stoppage time to be played...
90+1 minBOOKING! Arteta is cautioned for leading with his elbow in a challenge with Van Persie.
90+2 minSAVE! A smart stop from De Gea from close range denies Giroud, who attempted to lob the Spaniard. That will probably be Arsenal's last chance.
2.40pmIt's a cracking finish from Cazorla but it's too little, too late as the referee blows for full time as the match restarts.
2.41pmIt's one to forget for Arsenal, who never really got going at Old Trafford. United were by no means at their best, but they claim the three points nevertheless.
2.42pmThat's all we have time for from Old Trafford. Be sure to check out our match analysis, which will be with you shortly. Also, stay tuned with Sports Mole this afternoon for commentaries, half-time reports, match reports and reaction of all of today's football at home and abroad!