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29/04/2013 08:03

Papers: Robin's return

David Hytner writes in The Guardian...

RvP scores on timid return to Arsenal
He came back, he scored, he did not celebrate. He even got booked for a tasty challenge on Per Mertesacker. Yet Robin van Persie's heavily trailed Emirates Stadium return was a curious non-event, which somehow chimed with the broader spectacle. From an Arsenal perspective, this was a game of tremendous importance. Never mind Van Persie and the attendant symbolism of the club's star player from last season pitching up as a Manchester United champion, they were desperate for a victory to take advantage of Tottenham Hotspur's dropped points at Wigan Athletic in the quest for Champions League qualification. And yet it was flat. Arsenal remain on course to achieve their basic target, the one that they have claimed for the past 15 seasons, but there was the sense of stasis, of another session on the treadmill. This used to be the fixture of the Premier League season and the big-screen recap of previous battles before kick-off had stirred the senses. But these days the rivalry is diluted and for United there was practically nothing on this meeting. Van Persie was booed throughout and passions threatened to become inflamed when he jogged towards the away support at full-time, clapping his hands above his head. But he checked and pirouetted, while continuing to applaud, as if to acknowledge the Arsenal fans as well. The outrage was subdued. It was all remarkably low-key.

Of course, many of today’s newspapers include coverage of Sunday’s PFA awards where van Persie finished third behind Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Tottenham’s Gareth Bale. The Dutchman was named in the team of the year, however, alongside fellow Reds David De Gea, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick.

Elsewhere, The Telegraph claims United “will use funds from a series of lucrative commercial deals to press ahead with plans to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.”

More: Arsenal 1 United 1Sir Alex rues missed chances | RvP earns praise

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