The Dutchman returned to his old stomping ground for the first time after his controversial departure to Old Trafford for around £24 million last summer. Both teams were targeting a victory, as Arsenal eye a top-four finish and United keen on breaking Chelsea’s record 95 points tally, but could only manage a 1-1 draw.
Much of the pre-match focus was on the return of Van Persie and how he had helped United win their record 20th league title. Many Arsenal fans felt that the 29-year-old turned his back on Arsenal when they needed him the most and a feisty reception was to be expected.
Even Gunners boss Wenger was asked about Van Persie and the Frenchman insisted he had no regrets of selling his star player. He even hoped that the fans treat the Netherlands striker with respect and appreciate what he accomplished in eight years with Arsenal.
However, football is a game of emotions and the emotions can quickly turn into hatred when your captain joins a rival team and helps them win the league. And to top it all off, Arsenal fans had to endure watching their team form a guard of honour for the champions.
The tone for the rest of the night was set early on as Van Persie was met with loud boos whenever he got a touch of the ball, and his loose pass on the half-way line allowed Arsenal to regain possession from which Walcott scored the opener within two minutes.
Van Persie had insisted he would not get affected by the boo-boys and was calm as he hit the penalty in his attempt to draw United level. To his credit, he did not celebrate and showed respect to the Gunners faithful, even though it wasn’t reciprocated.
According to Metro, Van Persie was disappointed with the reception he got, according to Patrice Evra. The left-back said, “I still don’t understand why the fans boo him. I am disappointed that the fans have quickly forgotten what he did for the club. I think he felt it as well.”
Do you think the Arsenal fans were right to boo RVP or should they have appreciated their former player in a more respectful fashion?