The difference on Sunday was a former Arsenal captain – Robin van Persie’s goal saw the champions take all three points and move up into fifth just five points off the current league leaders.
There were rumours, possibly fictitious, who knows, that the Gunners’ record signing this summer Mesut Ozil had previously agreed to join the Red Devils. I must admit, it is puzzling to me that United weren’t in for him or, if they were, they didn’t get him.
Given the fact that David Moyes publicly and openly pursued another former Arsenal captain in Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas this summer in his hopes of adding a creative presence to United’s midfield, it’s odd that Mesut Ozil – probably the most creative player in Europe – was not on his shortlist this summer.
The German didn’t make much impact this weekend for Arsenal but the thought of him feeding passes through to Van Persie and Wayne Rooney is daunting to say the least. Much the same could be said for another Spanish playmaker – Santi Cazorla. He has many of the same qualities as United’s target this summer Ander Herrera.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s star performer so far this term has been Aaron Ramsey – another midfielder that could have signed for United earlier in his career. In the context of Moyes’ squad and given that he already has a vaguely similar style of player in Tom Cleverley, I’m not so sure the Welshman would be as much of a requirement as perhaps a player like Jack Wilshere.
The England youngster hasn’t had the best of luck with injuries and form of late but he is still only 21 and as he matures he’ll certainly be the kind of talent capable of that Paul Scholes role for the Three Lions. Of all the players Arsenal have on their books, Wilshere is probably the only one I could imagine having the kind of desire, hunger, motivation and determination to succeed that the reigning champions have throughout the squad.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald