Robin van Persie does not need to respect Arsenal anymore

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Robin van Persie's goal against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, which ultimately proved to be the winner for Manchester United, was celebrated with great passion from the Netherlands striker, and quite rightly so.

This strike represented the third in three games that Van Persie has scored against the Gunners since he left in acrimonious circumstances over a year ago, and afforded him another opportunity to mark a goal with respectful silence.

After scoring at Old Trafford last year Van Persie made an almost apologetic gesture, so soon had his departure from Arsenal been, while he chose not to celebrate in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium after netting from the spot.

On the most recent occasion, however, Van Persie's face became contorted in almost demented joy, and prompted him to slide on his knees, arms outstretched as he had so often done during his time with the Gunners.

There was not a hint of respect for his former club in this instance, and why should there have been? Van Persie was entitled to act this way, and Arsenal fans should not resent him for doing so, even though many will.

It perhaps even serves as a compliment to the way in which the Gunners have started the season, with this encounter at Old Trafford representing a game far more important for Manchester United than for Arsenal.

Lose and the Premier League champions would have taken another step towards relinquishing their title, with Arsenal's advantage having been extended to 11 points. A United victory was almost imperative, and Van Persie's celebration reflected the magnitude of his goal.

There are more reasons than just this to strengthen Van Persie's right to indulge after a bulge of the net against his former club, with the vitriolic abuse that still exists enough to warrant something of a retort.

Van Persie's departure, particularly as it was to Manchester United, created much understandable rancour, and the Dutchman receives direct abuse like no other player Arsenal now encounter.

The supporters are absolutely permitted to express their anger at a player they had shown so much faith in during his years troubled by injuries, but the content of some chants goes beyond the border of simply distaste.

In a climate where Tottenham fans are outlawed from using the word Yid, then chants relating to an unfounded rape claim against Van Persie eight years ago should be acted upon by authorities in similar fashion.

They will persist, of course, and perhaps now even more so given Van Persie's clear renouncement of the respect he had previously held for the club who brought him to the Premier League.

Van Persie has always been a combative character, willing to take on everything and anyone in pursuit of his best interests. The real test of his mettle, however, will come if he scores at the Emirates Stadium on February 11. Will he react the same in front of 60,000 Gunners? It is his prerogative.

Manchester United
Robin Van Persie
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