The Dutchman lived up to his controversial billing, converting a first-half penalty to cancel out Theo Walcott's third-minute opener in his return to his old stomping ground.
The result was a fair reflection of a physical, end-to-end clash that could have swung in either team's favour.
Here are the player ratings for both sets of players.
Wojciech Szczesny: 7
A fine game for the Polish keeper who made a couple of top saves to deny the Red Devils in both halves. Most notable was the use of his face to deny a sharp van Persie header.
Bacary Sagna: 4
This was a real stinker for the French full-back, who looked sloppy in possession on a number of occasions. He was to blame for United's equaliser, losing the ball with a horrible back pass before fouling van Persie.
Per Mertesacker: 7
The German continued his fine season with a dominant display at the back. He was unbeatable in the air, denying United with some powerful clearing headers.
Laurent Koscielny: 8
The French centre-back was also excellent, displaying his typical poise and shifting van Persie out wide in his attempts to influence the game. He made a game-high seven interceptions (via WhoScored.com).
Kieran Gibbs: 5
It was not the young full-back's finest outing for the Gunners. Faced with Antonio Valencia, a winger in poor form, Gibbs was lucky not to have been exploited more.
Mikel Arteta: 7
Arsenal were excellent in the first half, controlling the ball and their opponents in the midfield. Arteta was key to keeping Wayne Rooney anonymous during this period. His influence faded a bit in the second half.
Aaron Ramsey: 7
The Welshman fared just as well as his Spanish teammate, making four key passes during the game and leading his team with 80 touches (via WhoScored.com). He had a couple of efforts on goal that worried the Red Devils a little.
Theo Walcott: 7
The game's opening scorer, Walcott exploited the space left in Patrice Evra's stead to good effect. He was less influential in the second half, but he still remained a dangerous threat.
Tomas Rosicky: 7
The Czech midfielder was arguably the best player on the pitch in the first half, before fading in the second. It was his visionary through ball to Walcott that created Arsenal's goal.
Santi Cazorla: 7
Santi Cazorla was given plenty of attention by Phil Jones and Rafael, especially considering he had caused the Red Devils trouble in the meeting earlier this term. He was sharp on the ball and always imaginative.
Lukas Podolski: 5
Arsenal missed the cutting edge of Olivier Giroud in attack on Sunday. Lukas Podolski held the ball up well on occasion, but gave Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans little in the way of trouble in the final third of the pitch.
Jack Wilshere: 6
In a 30-minute cameo, Jack Wilshere looked unfit and was unable to have a galvanising effect.
Gervinho/Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
Neither Gervinho nor the Ox were given enough time to cause the Red Devils any trouble. The latter looked sharp, though.
David de Gea: 7
The Spanish shot-stopper made a few fine stops, most notably denying Santi Cazorla late on at full stretch. He was as reliable as ever.
Rafael was unafraid to thunder forward down the right flank in a bid to outshine Antonio Valencia, but his touch often let him down. He fared better defensively than Evra on the opposite flank.
Rio Ferdinand: 7
The veteran showed plenty of poise to keep things tight after a horrible start to the game. He was excellent bringing the ball out from the back, making 71 touches and completing 91 percent of his passes during the game (via WhoScored.com).
Jonny Evans: 6
He was not quite as impressive as his defensive partner, but he was still effective at the back. The Northern Irishman hasn't seen much game time recently due to injury but coped admirably after being thrown into the deep end at the Emirates.
Patrice Evra: 5
The Frenchman is perhaps to blame for Walcott's opener, when he was left for dead following a lapse in concentration. He threatened going forward, though, displaying some neat footwork.
Phil Jones: 8
He was Manchester United's best player and a marauding influence across the breadth of the pitch. Jones' tenacity is undeniable, but his touch has also improved a great deal during the past few months.
Michael Carrick: 6
He was overrun in the first half and given the run around by the resurgent Tomas Rosicky. He started to settle and play his natural game in the second half, moving the ball forward for the Red Devils' many counter attacks.
Antonio Valencia: 5
He was largely ineffective on the right flank, failing to take advantage of an unsure opposite number in Gibbs. He got to the byline several times, but his end product was not up to Manchester United's standard.
Wayne Rooney: 6
He was completely absent in the first half but came back in the second to cause Arsenal plenty of problems. Shinji Kagawa was missed on Sunday, but Rooney acquitted himself well as the game wore on.
It was a much-improved outing from the Portuguese winger, who tormented Sagna down the left flank. His future at Old Trafford remains in doubt, though, no matter how good he is for Sir Alex Ferguson's side down the stretch.
Robin van Persie: 7
Returning to his former stadium and getting booed in the process, Robin van Persie held his nerve to convert a fine penalty to earn his team a point. He was industrious in the final third, if not as penetrative as he could have been.
Manchester United Substitutes
The Brazilian had a relatively impressive 20 minutes, but for all of his unbridled energy, his touch wasn't great.
Ryan Giggs/Javier Hernandez: N/A
Giggs had a great chance to win it late on but couldn't finish when sent through one-on-one by Rooney.
Who impressed you most for either side? Who was found wanting?