By FOX SPORTS Staff
Arsenal raced into an early lead courtesy of Theo Walcott's second minute goal; capitalising on Van Persie's mistake in midfield, the Gunners worked the ball to Tomas Rosicky, who then fed Walcott with a through pass, and the England international clinically finished past David De Gea.
Despite looking arguably the more threatening side in the first-half, the Gunners, as so often the case, pressed the self-destruct button when Bacary Sagna's weak back-pass to Per Mertesacker was intercepted by Van Persie, who then won his side a penalty after the French full-back's over-zealous attempt to win the ball back backfired when he tripped the Dutch striker in the box.
Van Persie stepped up confidently and dispatched a near-perfect penalty to draw United level.
Although both teams had chances to win the game in the second half, a mixture of good defending and woeful finishing ensured both teams shared the spoils in what was an entertaining encounter at the Emirates Stadium.
Here, FOX SPORTS rate the players who took to the pitch on Sunday.
Wojciech Szczesny - 7
An Arsenal scout may have travelled to Germany to watch Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler as Wenger reportedly seeks to strengthen his squad, but Szczesny showed no signs of being unduly disrupted by the news as he kept United at bay with a series of good stops. His point-blank save from Van Persie's goalbound header was the highlight of his game.
Bacary Sagna - 3.5
Unfortunately for Sagna, he, like Thomas Vermaelen in the reverse fixture early in the season, seemed to forget that Van Persie was no longer an Arsenal player. The French full-back gave the ball needlessly away to Van Persie late in the second half before compounding his error by hacking the Dutch striker in the box and conceding a penalty which his former team-mate clinically dispatched.
Per Mertesacker - 7.5
Many are still not convinced that Mertesacker is the answer to Arsenal's defensive problems, but the German international showed his quality with a splendid showing a the back. Mertesacker barely gave Van Persie any room to manoeuvre and showed great reading of the game to hack clear several dangerous crosses into his penalty box.
Laurent Koscielny - 8
Koscielny was an absolute rock at the back for Arsenal. The Frenchman made seven interceptions today and five tackles - both of which were game highs as he kept the likes of Rooney and Van Persie quiet with a series of crunching tackles and clever interceptions.
Kieran Gibbs - 7
Gibbs' attacking instincts were curbed somewhat by the threat of United's pacey counter-attacks, but he still managed to put in several well-timed challenges and won possession off Valencia on several occasions.
Mikel Arteta - 7.5
It was another typical metronomic display by Arteta in front of the defence. The former Everton player shielded his back four excellently and recycled possession well from deep.
Aaron Ramsey (78' off) - 8
Having struggled to find form following his horrendous injury in 2010, Ramsey appears to finally have found his feet in Arsenal's midfield set-up. The Welshman may not be the most technically gifted player, but he more than makes up for it with his energy and work-rate. He was a constant menace to United's defence as he hassled and harried them whenever they had possession.
Tomas Rosicky (60' on) - 8.5
Quite why Rosicky was withdrawn from the game as early as he was remains a mystery. The Czech international was Arsenal's best player on the pitch, adding urgency and zip to the Gunners attacks from the middle. He got himself an assist after his superb turn and through pass set up Walcott to score early in the game. The Gunners' attack noticeably lacked penetration once Rosicky was taken off, and it seems like a tactical mistake by Wenger not to have kept the energetic 32-year-old.
Santi Cazorla - 7.5
Cazorla looked lively in the attacking third and kept possession superbly under pressure. The Spaniard was the fulcrum in Arsenal's attack, spreading the passes through United's defence and also provided a genuine threat from range as he worked De Gea on numerous occasions.
Theo Walcott - 7
Walcott faded in an out of the game as the England international struggled to get the better of Evra in one-on-one situations but still managed to run in behind United's defence with his clever off-the-ball movement. Credit must be given to the former Southampton player for clinically putting Arsenal in the lead, but he could have done more to provide Sagna with additional defensive cover down the right flank.
Lukas Podolski (70' off) - 6
It was a subdued showing by Podolski, who appeared to be struggling with an ankle injury. The former Koln striker showed some good touches in and around the penalty box, but he never really managed to get into the game.
Jack Wilshere (62' on) - 6
Wilshere is one of the best players in the world when he is on song. Unfortunately for the 21-year-old, he was way out of tune when he came on and failed to provide much penetration in attack for Arsenal. His contribution to the game seemed insignificant as compared to the player he replaced Rosicky, who had thus far been massively influential for the Gunners.
Gervinho (70' on) - 5
Gervinho experienced something of a renaissance a few weeks back, but he appears to have reverted to type in recent games. The Ivorian's impact on the game was negligible and was too predictable whenever he had the ball.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (78' on) -N/A
David De Gea - 8
De Gea made brilliant saves to deny goalbound efforts from Podolski and Cazorla as he appears to finally have cemented his status as United's number one. The Spaniard looked really comfortable in goal and very nearly managed to keep out Walcott's effort, but his reactionary touch to the Englishman's shot failed to divert the ball away from his net.
Rafael (73' on) - 6.5
Rafael seemed slightly overwhelmed by the electric atmosphere of the Emirates Stadium and made several uncharacteristic mistakes in defence. The Brazilian did manage to win possession back for his side a few times but failed to make the most of the ball whenever he had it.
Jonny Evans - 8
Evans had a solid game at the back for United as he dovetailed well with Ferdinand to deny the likes of Walcott and Podolski from making inroads. The Northern Irishman made his fair share of tackles and won several key headers to prevent Arsenal from running in behind the defence.
Rio Ferdinand - 8
It was another calm and composed showing by Ferdinand in defence. The veteran centre-back brilliantly marshalled his backline and gave Podolski little space to work with. The former England international also showed nerves of steel to play his way out of defence on a number of times despite being pressured by the Gunners.
Patrice Evra - 6.5
Evra was guilty of failing to track the run of Walcott in the lead up to the opening goal, but the Frenchman recovered from the early setback to shackle Walcott well for majority of the game. Lapses of concentration still plague his game though, and he will be thankful that Arsenal could not take advantage of the space he left behind whenever he overlapped.
Antonio Valencia - 6
It was another ineffectual display by Valencia as he simply failed to get the better of Gibbs. When he did manage to break free on the right, his final ball was often poor, and several good counter-attacking chances went begging for United as a result.
Michael Carrick - 7.5
It was another unspectacular but effective performance by Carrick in midfield as he controlled the tempo of the game for the Red Devils with his neat passing and fantastic distribution. He was the catalyst from deep for several of United's counter-attacks and complemented Jones' boundless energy with his excellent reading of the game.
Phil Jones - 7.5
Jones initially struggled to get to grips with the pace of the game, but the spirited Englishman never let his head dip and played a more influential role as the game wore on. The former Blackburn Rovers player was an energetic presence on the pitch and did well to provide support for his team both in attack and in defence.
Nani (83' off) - 7
Nani had his moments against Arsenal but was too inconsistent over the 83 minutes he was on to really trouble the likes of Sagna and Mertesacker. The Portuguese winger managed to break free on the left several times and could have got himself an assist but for the brilliant save from Szczesny to deny Van Persie's point-blank header.
Wayne Rooney (89' off) - 7
Rooney took some time to get into the game, but he was excellent once he got going, which was unfortunately a little too late for the Red Devils. The England international's passing was superb; his brilliant cross-field through pass for Giggs late in the game typified the amount of talent Rooney possesses. The problem with Rooney however, is his application, and Ferguson will undoubtedly be wondering how best to motivate the former Everton player to fulfil his potential with the Red Devils.
Robin Van Persie - 7
The spotlight in this game was going to be all about Van Persie. The Dutch striker was given a mixed reaction from the home fans, and he responded by having a game of mixed fortunes. Van Persie was culpable of losing possession too easily in the build-up to Arsenal's goal, but he made amends by winning, and converting, United's equalising penalty.
Anderson (73' on) - 6.5
Anderson came on to provide defensive steel for United in front of the defence and capably did what was required of him. He was slightly wasteful in possession, but Ferguson will be pleased the Brazilian managed to keep his tactical discipline and denied Cazorla space in the attacking third.
Ryan Giggs (83' on) - N/A
Javier Hernandez (89' on) - N/A