Last Updated: 03/11/12 2:40pm
No time for a restart, and United go top of the table with a 2-1 victory over an Arsenal side who couldn't muster a shot on target until stoppage time. Not a classic, but job done for the Red Devils who now have 24 points from 10 games. Arsenal nine points back in sixth.
GOAL - CAZORLA! Consolation for Arsenal with the last kick of the game, and it's a stunning goal from Cazorla, bending the ball inside the far post from the edge of the area.
Great chance for Arsenal to set up a grandstand finish in stoppage-time, and finally a save for De Gea to make as he denies Giroud from close-range.
Four minutes of stoppage time at Old Trafford. Still, I suppose, time for Arsenal to do something miraculous...
Van Persie gets an arm in the face contesting a high ball with Arteta. The Arsenal man picks up a booking. Seven players cautioned in this game to go with the red card for Wilshere.
Into the final minute at Old Trafford. Not one of the classic encounters between these two, but United have been good enough against a subdued and disappointing Arsenal side.
Van Persie's corner is headed clear and Cazorla has the chance to launch a counter-attack for Arsenal. A chance he does not take.
Mertesacker alert to the danger as United break through Anderson, and gets the ball behind for a corner.
Good work again from Mannone to gather the ball after Anderson ghosts past Arteta in midfield and looks to slide the ball through for the run of Nani.
A rather more impressive first contribution from Nani, firing over a cross from the right that Mertesacker does well to head behind with Van Persie lurking.
Arshavin's first contribution is to chop down a charging Rafael and add to the growing collection of cards in this match.
Rooney rudely halts an attempted Arsenal break on halfway with a trip on Arteta and becomes the latest player to receive a caution.
United have the ball in the net again, and it's beautifully worked. But the linesman cares not for craft and raises the flag to deny Anderson, who was a fraction ahead of the ball when Van Persie squared for him to slot home after the Dutchman had been superbly played in by Evans.
Promising position comes to nothing for United as Valencia cuts inside from the right and finds himself in a blind alley.
Carrick carelessly gives the ball away to Cazorla in midfield. He surges forward and plays in Walcott on the right, but he rushes and blazes high and wide when Giroud was well-placed in the centre.
United lose possession, and Anderson becomes the latest name in a well-filled notebook for blocking off Arteta.
United knocking the ball around now, in the handy position of enjoying a two-goal and one-man advantage.
Arsenal's task gets tougher still. Wilshere could've got a second yellow for an earlier foul. Now he does have that second yellow after a heavy touch allows Evra to get to the ball before being caught by the Arsenal midfielder.
Chance for a third for United as a break down the right ends with a cutback to the onrushing Anderson who sidefoots over the bar from the edge of the area.
GOAL - EVRA! United finally have their second goal as Rooney and Young work a short-corner routine before Rooney's whipped cross is headed into the bottom corner by Evra.
Chance for United! Mertesacker plays Van Persie onside from Young's lofted pass but the striker's slightly miscued shot is turned wide by Mannone.
Wilshere's delivery somehow manages to find its way through the crowded penalty box and behind for a goal-kick.
Arsenal win a corner out on the right. Problems for defenders and attackers alike from this set-piece as they stare into the low sun.
Anderson's first involvement is a wonderful piece of vision that almost sets Young in on goal but the pass is just a fraction overhit. Young was, in any case, a yard offside.
Cleverley could easily have been sent off moments ago, and that might have been a factor in this decision from Sir Alex, who takes him off and brings on Anderson.
Arsenal make a mess of the free-kick, and Valencia then makes a mess of the United breakaway by squaring the ball to a group of purple-and-black shirts.
Cleverley every bit as lucky as Wilshere here after a clumsy foul on the Arsenal man 30 yards from goal. Would surely have seen the yellow card produced had Cleverley's name not already been taken.
Nice break from United, with Rooney setting Rafael away down the right. His cross finds Evra at the back post, who squares for the onrushing Rooney. His shot hits Mertesacker on the chest, and the appeals for a penalty are rightly waved away.
Arsenal certainly coming into the game more now, and there's a nervousness from the home fans who have seen their side pass up several opportunities to extend the lead.
Van Persie makes a mess of the initial free-kick and, despite United regaining possession, the ball is soon with Mannone. His giant throw sets Walcott away, and a promising Arsenal break comes to a sorry end when Santos sends his cross behind for a goal-kick when he had the time, space and bodies in the box to have produced something far more telling.
Late challenge from Wilshere on Van Persie gives United a free-kick 40 yards from goal and right of centre. Wilshere, already cautioned, may have been a worried man for a second there.
Chance for Arsenal. A neat passing move ends with Santos crossing low to Giroud. His first touch makes a narrow angle tighter still, and his shot on the turn finds only the outside of the post.
Arsene Wenger has seen enough and makes his first change, bringing on Walcott for Ramsey. Certainly adds pace to that right flank.
United clear a Podolski cross and Rooney looks to go early for the run of Van Persie but asks too much of the Dutchman.
Smart break from Santos down the left, but his teasing low cross along the six-yard box finds a penalty area full of United defenders but devoid of Arsenal attackers.
Corner comes to nothing, but United are soon back on the attack. Vermaelen tackles Van Persie out on the left, but Young reacts quicker than Mertesacker to pick up the loose ball. His cross whistles across the box and comes to Rafael, whose shot is scuffed and cleared for Carrick to sidefoot wide from 25 yards.
Mertesacker's error this time to allow Rooney to win a corner. Slipshod start to both halves from Arsenal.
Glorious chance for United to double their lead! Another Vermaelen error lets in Van Persie, who squares for Valencia but he scuffs his shot wide from close range with the goal at his mercy. Will United rue those two misses either side of half-time.
Some half-time priceboosts from Sky Bet now. It's 15/2 for Manchester United to win 3-0, 20/1 for a 2-2 draw, 11/2 that Rooney scores the next goal and 11/1 that Giroud bags next. Van Persie to score again in a 2-0 win is 12s. Head to skybet.com for a massive range of in-play markets.
Van Persie shares a moment with Wenger as they head for the tunnel and then hands his shirt to Santos and gives him a hug. Only half-time, chaps.
The half-time whistle cuts short an Arsenal attack. United have been comfortable pretty much throughout without being at their very best but may be a touch concerned not to have added to Van Persie's clinical early strike. Mannone has denied both Van Persie and Rooney since then, while Rooney passed up the best chance of a second goal in first-half stoppage time when he dragged a penalty wide of the target after Cazorla handled Young's cross. Cazorla and Wilshere have shown flashes of the danger they can pose United, but De Gea has so far been untested.
PENALTY MISSED! Rooney drags the spot-kick wide. Could that be a turning point for Arsenal? They've been second best in this first half but are still in touch.
PENALTY TO UNITED! Cazorla tries to block Young's cross but the ball cannons from close range into his arm, and Mike Dean points to the spot. Touch harsh.
Corner for United as Rooney's cross is sliced over his own crossbar by Mertesacker. Should've dealt better with that.
Young gets the better of Sagna, but then makes a mess of his attempt to slide the ball in for Rooney or Van Persie.
Quick break from Arsenal instigated by Cazorla's sweeping pass out to Ramsey. He passes to the overlapping Sagna, but Evra snuffs out the threat.
Rooney latches on to Ferdinand's long ball and breaks down the right. He looks to set Valencia away, but Arteta has tracked back and times his sliding tackle perfectly.
Chance for Arsenal. Giroud loses his marker from the corner to rise unchallenged at the near post, but he mistimes his header and sends it high and wide.
The card is produces this time as Cleverley is outwitted by Cazorla and trips the Spaniard. Chance for Arsenal to pack the penalty box.
Wilshere looking to find a way through on the left, but he's isolated and eventually runs the ball out of play before taking a painful-looking tumble into the hoardings. Don't worry, Arsenal fans: he's back on his feet.
A superb first touch from Cleverley takes him clear down the right from a van Persie knockdown, but he can't pick out the waiting Rooney or Young with his cross. United have everything they would want this afternoon so far apart from a second goal to truly reflect their dominance.
A wonderful crossfield pass from Vermaelen finds Giroud, who has drifted out to the right flank, but his cross is mishit and easily cleared.
A promising break for United comes to nothing as Young is flagged offside running on to Evra's pass.
Ferdinand's long ball gives Rafael another chance to attack Santos, but this time the Arsenal left-back deals with the threat calmly and brings the ball clear.
Space and time for Santos to pick out a cross from the left, but he floats it tamely straight to De Gea.
Two chances in quick succession for United. Valencia ghosts past Santos and crosses. It's cleared to Carrick who plays in Rooney. His powerful shot is smartly turned away by Mannone, and when the ball is crossed back into the danger area, Van Persie's header is tame and easy for the keeper.
Podolski tries to slide the ball through for Giroud, but the Arsenal frontmen aren't on the same wavelength and De Gea gathers.
Strong forward run from Valencia on the right. He then links up with Rooney but Arsenal get the ball clear.
Arsenal get behind the United defence for the first time as Evra misjudges a bouncing ball and allows Ramsey to get in on the right. He bursts into the area and crosses low, and De Gea's parry finds a red rather than purple shirt to clear the danger.
Rafael again causing problems down the right, and Arsenal fail to properly clear his cross. Cleverley plays in Evra down the left, and the left-back wins a corner off Sagna.
Chance for a second goal for Van Perise and United as Rooney's sliderule pass sends the Dutchman clear of Vermaelen and in goal, but his shot is parried away by Mannone.
An Arsenal attack breaks down, but United's counter-attack comes to nothing as Valencia fails to pick out Rooney with a raking crossfield ball.
Mannone comes out of his goal but then changes his mind and retreats as Van Persie picks up the ball. The angle's against him, so he goes back to Young, but his cross is cleared.
Arsenal knocking the ball around 40 yards from the United goal but there are plenty of red shirts back to prevent any way through to more dangerous territory.
Wilshere goes into the book for a reckless hack at Cleverley after losing possession to the United man.
Arsenal starting to find a foothold in the game now, starting to see their fair share of the ball. Yet to trouble De Gea, though.
Arsenal's best spell as Wilshere and Cazorla link up nicely to release Sagna on the right-hand side. His cross is headed clear to Andre Santos, but he drags his 25-yard effort horribly wide. Much closer to the corner flag than the goal.
Some respite for Arsenal. Bit of possession and then a foul on Cazorla by Carrick just outside the centre-circle.
The free-kick comes to nothing, but Arsenal are struggling to get any meaningful time on the ball in these opening minutes.
Arsenal looking edgy in these early stages, with Rooney winning the ball back for United in midfield.
As is customary in modern football, Van Persie's celebration against his former team is muted. Which is no fun at all. Should mention Valencia's role in the build-up to the goal; his flick to set Rafael clear down the right was top class.
GOAL - VAN PERSIE! Would you believe it! Not even three minutes on the clock when Vermaelen makes a hash of clearing Rafael's cross and tees up Van Persie to arrow the ball past Mannone into the bottom corner.
First attack of the game comes from United down the left with Evra releasing Young, but his cross is deflected to Mannone.
All ready for the off here at Old Trafford. Robin van Persie had a hug for most of his former colleagues in the tunnel.
The glorious madness of football fandom, from David O'Byrne: 'You know it's a big game when you start the week by dreading the upcoming fixture, start having some hope around Thursday and Friday and this morning you wake up with quiet confidence. Come kick off I'll have Arsenal down as a lock to win.'
Quite a few of you tipping 3-2 in this one. Does seem a popular score for the Red Devils at the moment. Here's Morgan's take: 'I see United's recent poor defensive record being an issue with Podolski making the most of the space we are allowing at the moment. However, the pure force of RVP and Rooney together will overcome this. I am going for a 3-2, with United outscoring Arsenal in a open match.'
Sir Alex Ferguson asked if he feels more comfortable writing a team sheet with wingers in it. 'Of course; I've been doing it 25 years.'
'How on earth can Wenger leave out Walcott, who is on the bench again?' headshakes Ron. 'Does not make sense in anyway. Valencia will have a field day against Santos. I see 4 - 0 to Man Utd with Van Persie getting a couple.'
News now from our friends at Sky Bet. United's charge to within one point of leaders Chelsea sees them 4/6 to grab the win which would, at least temporarily, put them top. Arsenal are a 7/2 shout with the draw available at 16/5. Ex-Gunner Robin van Persie is 7/2 to bag the first goal and 4/1 to outscore the visitors. Head to skybet.com for a full range of in-play markets.
Gary Wood disagrees. 'Man United should smash this easy. with the tough game we had against chelsea this should be a breeze cumon red devils. UNITED ALL THE WAY.'
I do like a precise prediction. Here's Tom Adlam's: 'Dave - everyone's writing off Arsenal today, but I don't think United have looked that good this season. I think it will be tight, but I fancy Arrsenal may have too much pace today, and I see a red card for either Evans or Ferdinand. I am going 2-1 Arsenal with Walcott grabbing the winner against 10-man United.'
Theo Walcott only on the bench for Arsenal despite his efforts in the 12-goal craziness at the Madejski in midweek. Robin van Persie starts against his former club.
Manchester United: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Young, Rooney, van Persie. Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Hernandez, Nani, Scholes, Powell, Wootton.
Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud. Subs: Martinez, Koscielny, Walcott, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Chamakh.
Afternoon everyone. This should be good. Half-an-hour until kick-off, and we'll have team news for you shortly ahead of this crunch clash between Man United - who will go top (for now at least) with a win - against Arsenal. Last season this fixture finished 8-2, and the games involving these teams in midweek involved just the 21 goals. So this one's obviously going to be 0-0. What's your prediction? Send them in to Dave.Tickner@bskyb.com and I'll print as many as I can.