Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Score, Analysis and Grades
It wasn't an 8-2 drubbing this time around, but Manchester United's 2-1 win over Arsenal Saturday at Old Trafford seemed every bit as one-sided as last year's embarrassing result.
Arsene Wenger's club looked flat from the beginning, surrendering a quick goal to former fan favorite Robin van Persie just two-and-a-half minutes in.
From there, Manchester United dictated everything and steamrolled to a 2-1 victory (only because of a last-second goal from Arsenal's Santi Cazorla). The result earned United three big points and handed Arsenal its second away loss of the season.
Though neither team played its best football on Saturday, a number of players stood out for all the right, and wrong, reasons.
Let's take a look at the grades.
Robin van Persie, Manchester United: A
Robin van Persie ignited United early on with a third-minute screamer and was active in front of Arsenal's goal throughout Saturday's match. In a first half that lacked any real quality, van Persie's breakthrough was the lone bright spot.
His constant movement and desire to be first to the ball took center stage against Arsenal, and for that reason his performance earns an A.
Jack Wilshere, Arsenal: D
Anytime you cost your squad by putting it down a man, you deserve a bulk of the blame. Still, it's hard to imagine the Gunners winning or even earning a single point on Saturday with Jack Wilshere on the pitch for the final 20 minutes.
Patrice Evra, Manchester United: B
Patrice Evra's goal wasn't as pretty as van Persie's, but it was every bit as effective. His dagger in the 67th minute put Arsenal away for good and gave United the energy to hold on for the rest of the match.
Evra did enough in defense to help United record the shutout, not committing bad fouls and avoiding yellow cards.
And his goal proved to be the game-winner.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal: C
Giroud and Co. failed to put a single shot on goal until the 92nd minute, averaging a shot once every 15 minutes or so.
There isn't a player on Wenger's club deserving of a grade higher than a C, but because Giroud never gave up, he earns a grade fitting for his average performance.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United: B
We don't expect Rooney to net a hat trick every time he steps onto the pitch against a lesser club, but it's not unfair for us to expect more attack from Rooney, who considers himself to be one of the game's best strikers.
Santi Cazorla, Arsenal: C
His goal was meaningless, and his egregious hand ball in the first half should have put the Gunners behind 2-0 at halftime.
Cazorla is lucky that this match didn't end up a lot worse for him. He made costly errors and disappeared offensively for the first 90 or so minutes.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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