Robin van Persie was the scourge of his old club Arsenal once again as his first-half goal was enough for Manchester United to secure 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

The Dutch striker bagged his seventh Barclays Premier League goal of the season to lift United up to fifth place in the table, while the Gunners’ lead at the top remains two points.

Arsene Wenger made just two changes to the Arsenal side that beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday, with Mathieu Flamini and skipper Thomas Vermaelen returning to the XI.

David Moyes made four changes to the team that were held by Real Sociedad in Spain on Tuesday, with Van Persie returning to the side and making an instant impact against his former club.

The man who has scored for both sides in each of the last four meetings was on target once again after 27 minutes, as he met Wayne Rooney’s corner to power a header into the top corner of the net.

In light of Hugo Lloris’ injury last weekend, there was a brief scare for Arsenal as keeper Wojciech Szczesny went down after a clash of heads with Phil Jones.

However, the Polish stopper was soon back on his feet and given the all clear to continue.

Then, Nemanja Vidic went down after running into teammate David de Gea in the closing stages of the first half and the United captain was replaced by Tom Cleverley at the break.

Mesut Ozil fired into the side-netting as the visitors pushed for an equaliser, while at the other end Rooney fired a good opportunity wide from 18 yards.

United withstood one final scare in stoppage time, as Bacary Sagna’s deep cross across the face of goal agonisingly evaded both Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner before running out of play.

It was a fifth straight win over the Gunners at Old Trafford for Moyes’ men and could prove to be vital in the race for the title further down the line.

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