On Sunday, Robin van Persie will face Arsenal for the third time as a Manchester United player.

It will be the first time, however, that Arsenal assume a place above Manchester United in the Premier League. The Gunners are currently sitting pretty at the summit of the Premier League, eight points ahead of old rivals United.

It was with a certain degree of smugness that Robin van Persie lifted the Premier League trophy last season. It is an accolade that his extraordinary footballing talent no doubt merits.

He must have felt safe in his decision to move to United when they reclaimed the league title in April; looking forward to another season under Sir Alex Ferguson, but then of course the Scot dropped the bombshell from which United still haven’t recovered.

Van Persie hasn’t looked the same player he was last season - at United anyway. He hasn’t had a bad start to the season by any means, but last season he was the man who won scored winning goals away at Manchester City and at Liverpool. This season he failed to score in either fixture - fair enough, he was ruled out injured for the City clash but he also failed to score in the home game against Chelsea.

Van Persie looks distracted, no longer United’s man for the big games. Wayne Rooney has been far more influential this season.

Leaving Arsenal probably was the right choice for Van Persie in order to further his career, only time will tell though. Will he really want to see out his career at Old Trafford if the unthinkable happens and they fail to qualify for Europe?

Or will he wish that he’d picked up the phone to Manchester City or Juventus last summer? 

Perhaps Robin is started to regret listening to that ‘little boy inside who was screaming out for him to join Manchester United.’

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