Van Persie Delivers as Manchester United Takes Top Spot
Striker Robin van Persie scored early against his former team as Manchester United grabbed the Premier League top spot with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal Saturday at Old Trafford.
United's victory, coupled with Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Swansea, put the Sir Robert Ferguson-skippered squad in first place with 24 points in 10 games.
With the draw, Chelsea dropped to second place with 23 markers following by defending champion Manchester City with 22 points.
Van Persie, who played for Arsenal for eight years before transferring to Manchester United, scored in the third minute and Patrice Evra added a header in the 67th minute to double their lead.
Arsenal avoided a shutout when Spaniard Santi Cazorla scored with a curling shot in extra time.
After the match, Ferguson heaped praises on the Dutchman, who scored his eighth Premier League goal in 10 appearances for his new club.
"It was an ideal start for the Manchester United cause and it was good for Robin," Ferguson said. "I thought he was fantastic today. His movement, his penetration was fantastic."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rued the dismissal of Jack Wilshere for a second bookable offense that reduced the team to 10 men in the game's last 30 minutes.
"We had a lot of possession, but not very progressive," Wenger said. "It was important to find some space in the final third of the game and not lose the game before that, but when you are down 2-0, down to 10 men it was very difficult."
Wenger also admitted his team committed several defensive blunders that Manchester United took advantage of.
"We put ourselves in trouble because most of the problems we had were from our own mistakes when we had the ball and lost the ball, especially the first goal which is important in a game like that," Wenger said.
Meanwhile, Swansea's Pablo Hernandez struck the equalizer in the 88th minute to force erstwhile leader Chelsea to a 1-1 draw,
Chelsea looked headed for a victory when Victor Moses hit his first Premier League goal for the club in the 61st minute until Hernandez seized on Itay Shechter's pass and booted the tying goal out of Petr Cech's reach.
In other games, Fulham and Everton battled to a 2-2 draw; Norwich City beat Stoke City, 1-1; Aston Villa beat Sunderland, 1-0; Wigan Athletic downed Tottenham Hotspur, 1-0; and West Ham United and Manchester City settled for a scoreless draw.
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