It's wasn't just Robin van Persie's 27th minute header that was a poke in the eye for Arsenal fans (and in particular manager Arsene Wenger), it was the way he celebrated after scoring the goal that saw Manchester United to victory against his old club that will be so hard to take for some.
Almost a year ago, in the same match against Arsenal at Old Trafford, van Persie scored his first league goal for Manchester United against his former club. As you'd expect, the celebrations were understated and respectful, as United's classy striker had no wish to rub Arsenal fans' nose in it so soon after his transfer up North. (Manchester United ended up winners again on that occasion - 2-1).
But it was the manner of van Persie's goal celebrations Sunday that must finally put to rest all those Arsenal fans (and manager Arsene Wenger) who still feel that van Persie remains 'an Arsenal man' at heart. As the Mail states: 'When Robin van Persie gave Manchester United the lead in the 27th minute against Arsenal he turned and celebrated like he had played for them his entire career'.
12 months ago, van Persie said after scoring: 'I played there (at Arsenal) for eight years. I had a fantastic time there and I respect the fans, manager, players and the whole club. So that is why I didn’t celebrate'. Nothing held van Persie back on Sunday, however, as he showed unrestrained joy at scoring what proved to be the winning goal for Manchester United.
Does van Persie's proper celebration now mean that he no longer respects Arsenal, the fans and the manager ? No, of course not. It just means that he has moved on - and so should the Arsenal contingent who still seem to feel that the Dutchman has their club in his heart. Today was the day that van Persie proved (if proof indeed was required) that red and white may still be the colour, but it's Manchester United that's in his blood now, and that everything else comes second.
image: © cactusbeetroot