Much of the talk ahead of the Barclays Premier League match had focused on the Dutchman’s first match against the Gunners since making the switch from the Emirates Stadium to Old Trafford in the summer.
Undeterred, the 29-year-old raced out of the blocks to break the deadlock in the third minute, taking advantage of a poor clearance from Thomas Vermaelen to finish with his unfavoured right foot.
Despite being roundly and perhaps unfairly booed by Arsenal’s travelling support, van Persie showed his class by not celebrating his goal - favouring a more dignified, respectful reaction.
“I think it speaks for itself,” Robin declared to Sky Sports, when asked why he didn’t celebrate his goal. “I played there for eight years. I had a fantastic time there and I respect the fans, the players, the manager and the whole club. So that’s why.
“It was a special day and in the end it was quite a game, I think we played well. We were a bit sloppy with chances and should have scored two or three more. But in the end we are happy with three points because that is all that matters.”
Saturday’s encounter between the two giants of English football resulted in a more timid affair than previously expected, despite referee Mike Dean handing out eight yellow cards, as United largely dominated the match without showing too much ruthlessness in front of goal.
Surprisingly, van Persie was one of many Reds to spurn chances to score after the half-time break and perhaps should have done better with a glorious opportunity midway through the second half when