Robin van Persie hailed a "special day" after scoring in Manchester United's 2-1 victory over Arsenal, but refused to celebrate out of "respect" for his former club.
The Dutchman needed just three minutes to remind the Gunners of what they lost when he quit the Emirates Stadium in a £24million deal in the summer. The 29-year-old set up what proved a routine win for United.
Van Persie told Sky Sports: "It was a special day, it was quite a game. I think we played well. We had a few chances, we should have scored two or three more but in the end we're happy with the three points which is all that matters."
Patrice Evra added the second after Wayne Rooney missed a penalty while the Gunners' misery was compounded by the sending off of Jack Wilshere, although Santi Cazorla hit a late consolation.
Van Persie spent eight years with the north London club, culminating in last season's superb 37-goal campaign. He has carried that form with him to United and his latest effort took his tally this season to 10 in 13 games.
The 29-year-old was taunted throughout by visiting fans but he did not antagonise them further by celebrating his goal. He said: "I think it speaks for itself. I played there eight years and had a fantastic time there. I have respect for the fans, the players, the manager and the whole club."
United were dominant from the outset and could have won by a much clearer margin. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports: "It's unbelievable. The chances we missed, we really should have put it to bed a long time ago. You look at that scoreline, 2-1, you'd think it was a close game but it wasn't a close game."
England midfielder Wilshere saw red for two bookings in just his second match back after returning from a 14-month injury lay-off.
Wilshere was booked in the first half and was fortunate to escape a second yellow card for a foul on Van Persie before eventually being dismissed for bringing down Evra.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "It was not deserved, he went for the ball. His game is commitment. I will have to see the game but it didn't look to me like he went on purpose over the ball."
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- Jack Wilshere
- Sky Sports
- Patrice Evra