Manchester United vs. Arsenal: 6 Things We Learned

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Manchester United vs. Arsenal: 6 Things We Learned
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
"Valencia's Going to Eat You Alive, Andre"

You might have thought that there was little Manchester United and Arsenal could have learned from each other, being managed by Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, respectively.

These two are by a country mile the best ever in the Premier League. If Sir Alex hadn't been around, we might be talking of Arsene as the best of the lot.

In his prematch interview on Sky Sports, Wenger characterised the relationship between the two as "respectful." No doubt without that there would have been no question of selling Robin Van Persie to United.

Of course the French "professor" will have had sleepless nights both before and after that transfer. He tried all he could to keep the Dutchman but did at least see him evade the clutches of the Manchester City retirement home for former Arsenal players.

If RVP had gone to the Etihad instead of Old Trafford, both managers might have been ruing their misfortune by now.

He might well come to be regarded as one of the most intelligent and skillful players ever to have graced the Premier League after he retires. He has certainly helped allay the fears of what happens at United after Paul Scholes retires. Paul who...?

And so it was, in the blinding sunshine of a Manchester Saturday afternoon (yes, you read that correctly) that Robin "Redbreast" performed precisely to the script, sending United supporters delirious and, at least for a few minutes, silencing his former fans.

Sir Alex described this as a "strange game," and so it was. At times it was like a midfield chess match, but there was only ever going to be one winner, even though United at times behaved as if they were feeling sorry for the paucity of the opposition threat.

It was probably an eerie feeling for Van Persie when he scored. He seemed to raise his hands almost in apology to the Arsenal fans. From that moment on, United behaved as if they were embarrassed to score as well.

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