A lovely backheel from Antonio Valencia found Rafael down the right wing whose low cross was not cleared properly by Thomas Vermaelen. It fell to van Persie, just inside the box, who made no mistake with the first-time finish, blasting low into the corner. The striker, aware he was in close proximity to the Arsenal fans, kept his celebrations muted as he was engulfed by his jubilant team-mates.
Van Persie went close to doubling his and United’s tally on 21 minutes when Rooney put him through. This time the Dutch forward saw his angled effort palmed away by the Gunners' Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Arsenal went straight up the other end and forced David De Gea into action for the first time in the game with the Spaniard diving down low to punch away Aaron Ramey’s dangerous cross from the right.
United were looking rampant in attack and soon after Rooney, well found by Michael Carrick, saw a drilled shot from inside the box brilliantly saved by Mannone, and in the passage of play that followed van Persie headed Young’s centre straight at the Gunners stopper.
While Arsenal had offered little from open play, they found themselves with a good opportunity from a corner seven minutes before the break, but it was wasted by the unmarked Olivier Giroud who powered a header over De Gea’s crossbar as he rose to meet Cazorla’s set-piece.