Van Persie took 35 per cent of fans’ votes in our poll, although it is telling of the game itself that David De Gea finished in second place (24%) as Sunderland threatened United’s goal in the second half and forced a string of important saves from the Spaniard, particularly in a frantic last 20 minutes.
Tom Cleverley’s speed, energy and well-taken goal earned him third spot (22%), with Ashley Young (10%) and Phil Jones (6%) completing the shortlist.
It was a typically classy display from van Persie and, as well as all the usual elegant touches in United’s build-up play, he proved a threat inside the penalty area all afternoon. The Dutchman’s goal after 16 minutes was neatly taken on the bounce and the skill and imagination shown in beating Carlos Cuellar and Titus Bramble to assist Rooney’s second-half goal was exceptional.
As if Barclays Premier League defenders didn’t already have enough to worry about against a United side in fine scoring form this season, Sir Alex Ferguson still feels his team aren’t making full use of his Dutch marksman's considerable talents.
The boss said on Saturday: “A lot of our football was fantastic and some of our interchange play was terrific, [but] we don’t pick out van Persie’s runs as well as we should - his movement is great and he really kept Sunderland on the back foot.”