Some of the fans turned their backs, all of them booed and the home team formed a begrudging guard of honour as Premier League champions Manchester United took the field at Emirates Stadium.
United, champions for the fifth time in seven seasons, 13th time in the Premier League era and a record 20th time overall, had sealed the title Monday with a 3-0 win at home to Aston Villa, in which Robin van Persie scored all three goals, bringing his total to 24 on the campaign.
Van Persie, who had spent the previous eight seasons of his career at Arsenal, joined United for £24 million in the summertime and promptly set about firing his new team to the top of the table.
But despite his obvious influence at Old Trafford, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claimed before Sunday’s match that the Dutchman hadn’t been the difference in United regaining the title.
“United have won 20 championships and they won a few without Robin van Persie,” he told reporters in a pre-match press conference. “No, the difference is that City have dropped off.” ( h/t Telegraph)
Even before the guard of honour formed prior to kickoff, the occasion of van Persie’s return to the Emirates got off to an awkward start when, after getting off United’s team bus, he headed toward the Arsenal dressing room before realizing his error and heading down the visitors’ corridor.