Van Persie's first real involvement in the game was a miscued shot which sailed high over the bar just after the 10 minute mark, much to the delight of the Gunners' supporters. Those fans then collectively held their breath moments later when the Dutchman broke down the left flank before crossing for Phil Jones who failed to find the target with a header after surging into the box.
men lost some of that early impetus as the first half went on but were
sparked back into life when Jonny Evans brought down Walcott just
outside the area.
The free kick was wasted but moments later
Arsenal had a glorious chance to double its lead on the counterattack.
Rosicky elected to pass to Podolski, rather than the unmarked Walcott,
but the German could only fire his shot from a tight angle straight at
Arsenal then had Wojciech Szczesny to thank for keeping
it ahead just before the break. The Poland international made himself
big to keep out van Persie's header from point-blank range after a swift
But moments later van Persie made no
mistake, this time from the spot, after Sagna's rash challenge on the
Dutchman gave United a penalty.