Manchester United's Robin van Persie tends to raise game against Arsenal

Van Persie United 2

Arsenal need to find a way of keeping a former favourite quiet when they lock Premier League horns with Robin van Persie and Manchester United.

It is remarkable how often Premier League clubs are left to curse the exploits of former employees, as familiar faces return to haunt those who once paid their wages.

Arsenal will once again find themselves coming face-to-face with a man once idolised on the North Bank at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday when Robin van Persie returns to north London with Manchester United.

The Holland international left the Gunners in 2012, after eight years under Arsene Wenger’s wing, with a desire to challenge for top honours cited as the reason behind his decision to jump ship.

A big call was vindicated by Premier League title success in his first season at Old Trafford, but the wheels have come off the United wagon in rather spectacular fashion since then.

Van Persie has, however, remained a reliable source of goals and a man who tends to save his best for the big occasion.

Games do not come too much bigger than Arsenal-United, with two old foes having traded crunching blows since the dawn of the Premier League era.

Both may have slipped some way off the pace in the battle for top-flight supremacy, but pride and passion are unlikely to be in short supply this weekend.

Van Persie can expect to receive a frosty reception, with jeers rather than cheers awaiting him, but a quick look at his exploits against Arsenal in the last two seasons suggests that he tends to revel in the role of pantomime villain.

  MatchGoalsGoal AssistTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttBig Chance MissedAtt Freekick TotalTotal PassMins Played
Robin van Persie Arsenal vs Man Utd 1 0 3 2 1 0 21 90
Robin van Persie Man Utd vs Arsenal 1 0 4 4 2 0 30 90
  MatchGoalsGoal AssistTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttBig Chance MissedAtt Freekick TotalTotal PassMins Played
Robin van Persie Man Utd vs Arsenal 1 0 1 1 0 0 28 85
Robin van Persie Arsenal vs Man Utd 0 0 3 2 2 0 14 90

The top table shows his efforts from 2012/13 while the second outlines how he fared against the Gunners last season.

Van Persie has found the target in three of his four Premier League meetings with Arsenal, and United have gone unbeaten through those fixtures to claim eight points.

The Opta stats also suggest that things could have been even better for the Red Devils’ top marksman, with five big chances squandered.

He was kept relatively quiet during the last meeting between the two sides, a 0-0 draw at the Emirates in February, but Arsenal know they cannot afford to get complacent as they prepare to take in another crunch clash with United and their deadly Dutchman.

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