Two minutes was all it took for Robin Van Persie to vindicate his high-profiled, widely maligned move to Manchester United.
The scene was fitting. Arséne Wenger and his travelling army of Arsenal fans, visitors in the Theatre of Dreams, were forced to watch their Dutch hero in the shirt of their fiercest Premier League rivals – and be subjected to the cruelty of him scoring.
The loss, however, represented far more than another sold star showing he’s moved on to better things.
Arsenal was on the wrong end of a monstrous 8-2 hammering last year – but in many ways last night’s 2-1 defeat hurt even more to fans. Their team’s performance was borderline lifeless. United controlled the game from whistle to whistle – and it was only a late Cazorla consolation and a wasteful United in front of goal which saved the score line from meandering to the realms of embarrassing.
The defeat dropped Arsenal to their worst start to a season in 16 years and shouts of “Wenger, Wenger sort it out” resonated around Old Trafford.
There’s only so many times blame can be deflected away from Arséne Wenger. A legend he will always be, but even the greatest of managers should not be excused for seven (approaching eight) trophy less years – particularly for a club with the magnitude of Arsenal.
One of his vital shortcomings as a manager in recent years was exemplified perfectly yesterday through Robin Van Persie’s goal yesterday afternoon. Wenger has failed to prevent key players from departing and, as such, his man management must be questioned. Van Persie was the last of his world class stars to pack their bags and head for the trophies – and now is the ideal time to bring in fresh ideas and look to build something new.
Arséne Wenger will forever be embedded in Arsenal history. But his previous geniuses are no longer present and the time has come for him to move on before his impeccable reputation is tarnished.