RVP strikes as Man United goes top


Manchester United is the Premier League leader after former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie returned to haunt his former club in a 2-1 win over the Gunners.

The prolific Dutchman's move over the northern summer to rival United has been keenly felt in north London, and it was given an unfortunate reminder of his predatory instincts when he fired past Vito Mannone in the third minute.

Wayne Rooney missed United's fourth penalty of the season although Patrice Evra doubled the host's lead after 67 minutes before Jack Wilshere was dismissed for a second bookable offence soon after.

Santi Cazorla netted a fine consolation from the edge of the box in injury-time but it was too little, too late.

Pablo Hernandez struck an 88th-minute equaliser as Chelsea rounded off another controversial week by losing its place at the top with a 1-1 draw at Swansea City.

Much of football's focus this week has centred on the fallout of Chelsea's 3-2 loss to Manchester United last week, which caused consternation on the pitch as well as off it - in the wake of the allegations the Blues made against referee Mark Clattenburg.

Roberto Di Matteo would no doubt have been relieved he could put those matters to one side and although Victor Moses' 61st-minute header put Chelsea in charge, it was forced to settle for a share of the spoils when Hernandez levelled with a magnificent low strike from outside the area.

Steve Sidwell's last-gasp goal helped Fulham salvage a 2-2 draw against a Marouane Fellaini-inspired Everton.

The Cottagers looked on course to claim their fourth home victory in five league matches when they took the lead after Bryan Ruiz's exquisite 25-yard free-kick came back off the upright before cannoning off Tim Howard's back and into the net.

But a brilliant brace from Fellaini turned the match on its head before substitute Sidwell struck from close range.

Toffees' captain Phil Neville last week expressed his desire to see his side claim a UEFA Champions League place this season and it moved into the top four after Tottenham Hotspur suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic.

The Latics, who had won just two of their nine opening fixtures, were not content to sit on the back foot and had three decent chances to open the scoring, with Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel keeping the scores level at half-time.

But after the interval, the American punched clear an inswinging Shaun Maloney corner into the path of Ben Watson to volley over the line.

Bradley Johnson's first-half header gave Norwich City a 1-0 win at home to Stoke City while Gabriel Agbonlahor's 57th-minute strike - his first in 29 matches - propelled Aston Villa to a 1-0 win at Sunderland.

Manchester City remains third, a point behind Chelsea, after a 0-0 draw at West Ham United with Roberto Mancini's tinkering backfiring again.

Ten days after his three-at-the-back experiment in City's shattering Champions League defeat at Ajax, manager Mancini was at it again at the other end of the pitch at Upton Park.

But the decision to start with Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko in the same XI for the first time failed just as spectacularly as the champion failed to score for the first time in almost seven months.

It could have been even worse for Mancini's men had Kevin Nolan not seen an early goal controversially ruled out for offside as West Ham more than held its own and was marshalled brilliantly by Winston Reid and James Tomkins.

There were no excuses for the shocking defending that should have seen City behind inside four minutes.

Mark Noble played a simple straight free-kick over the top, which Nolan brilliantly volleyed first time past Joe Hart.

The assistants' flag was up instantly, although replays showed Nolan may have been level.

Gareth Barry then produced one of the misses of the season midway through the half as he controlled Tevez's ball on his chest but somehow prodded wide from barely three yards.