Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Highlighting Standout Performers in Marquee Clash

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Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Highlighting Standout Performers in Marquee Clash
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Defending Premier League champions Manchester United picked up a vital 1-0 win over league-leading Arsenal on Sunday at Old Trafford to pull within three points of the Gunners in the table.

Former Arsenal star Robin van Persie netted the decisive goal less than 30 minutes in, using his head to direct a Wayne Rooney cross past Gunners' goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and into the bottom right corner, per Premier League on Twitter:

With Matchday 11's marquee clash in the books, let's highlight the standout performers. 

*Match statistics according to WhoScored.com

 

Robin van Persie

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It goes without saying that United forward Robin van Persie left the most significant mark on Sunday's match. The Dutchman scored the game's only goal in the first half, capitalizing on a beautiful cross from Wayne Rooney to rock his former club.

While it's shocking that van Persie was only able to muster one shot vs. Arsenal, it's even more impressive that he was able to take advantage of his single opportunity and direct the ball exactly where it had to be.

Sunday's match certainly won't go down as van Persie's greatest overall performance, but it will turn out to be one of his most memorable performances during his time with the Red Devils.

 

Patrice Evra

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Patrice Evra was brilliant in defense on Sunday, earning Man of the Match honors in United's pivotal victory.

Evra played a key role in helping David de Gea secure a clean sheet, connecting on 78 percent of his passes and winning four out of five aerial challenges. The veteran left back, who has been creating chances all season long, per Squawka Football, also recorded six superb tackles while fouling just twice.

Although he wasn't much of a factor offensively, his poised play at the back was critical for the defending champions as Arsenal finished with twice as many shots. 

 

Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney were both equally as effective for Manchester United on Sunday. Although each picked up a yellow card, they more than made up for it with accurate passing and strong defensive efforts.

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Jones completed 90 percent of his passes and won three dribbles in his defensive midfielder role.

Meanwhile, Rooney was able to assist on the match-winning goal in addition to attempting a game-high three shots. When the 28-year-old is playing aggressive football like he was on Sunday, the Red Devils are awfully tough to beat. 

When it was all said and done, only Evra and Chris Smalling had more touches than Rooney.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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