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Van Persie scores on return to the Emirates to frustrate Arsenal

updated 3:39 PM EDT, Sun April 28, 2013
Robin van Persie was on target from the penalty spot as Manchester United drew 1-1 at Arsenal.
Robin van Persie was on target from the penalty spot as Manchester United drew 1-1 at Arsenal.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Arsenal and Manchester United draw 1-1 at Emirates
  • Robin van Persie scores United's equalizer on return to his old club
  • Chelsea move above Arsenal into third with 2-0 win over Swansea
  • Reading and Queens Park Rangers are relegated from EPL

(CNN) -- Manchester United's Robin van Persie received a hostile reception on his return to the Emirates Stadium but had the last laugh Sunday by scoring the equalizer in a 1-1 draw against his former club Arsenal.

Van Persie's 29 goals this season have fired United to the English Premier League title, grabbing a hat-trick last Monday as they beat Aston Villa to clinch their 20th top-flight crown.

He left Arsenal in a $37 million switch to their EPL rivals in close season and the ill-feeling surrounding that move was reflected in the chorus of boos from the home fans every time he touched the ball.

Arsenal afforded United the traditional guard of honor before the kick off, but once play got underway they showed little respect for the new champions.

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Van Persie's sloppy ball saw Arsenal charge forward and Theo Walcott took advantage of a marginal call for offside to advance and beat David de Gea in the visiting goal.

They continued to dominate by playing with a ferocious intensity and with van Persie on the receiving end of some robust tackling, but the match turned near half-time.

First van Persie saw his point blank header kept out by Wojciech Szczesny then a mistake by Bacary Sagna let the Dutch star free and the defender responded by pulling him down in the penalty area.

Van Persie got up to coolly convert the penalty and draw United level.

"It takes bottle to take a penalty when the crowd are booing," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports after the match.

"We have a great spirit of applauding players when they come back to our club. I expected the booing to be honest with you."

United were revitalized and had the better opportunities to claim the full three points in the second half, with Wayne Rooney denied by Szczesny and substitute Ryan Giggs seeing a late effort deflected wide.

But the subsequent draw was a result neither team would be satisfied with and United cannot now beat Chelsea's all-time record for EPL points in a season.

Read: Tottenham drop points at Wigan

As Arsenal dropped a point, Chelsea moved above them into third with a 2-0 home win over Swansea earlier Sunday.

Fifth placed Tottenham Hotspur, two points behind Arsenal in the battle for the final Champions League spot, have a game in hand over their North London rivals.

Chelsea, who have a hectic program of league and Europa League commitments, showed no signs of tiredness with a comfortable win.

Brazil's Oscar gave them the lead in the 43rd minute after a pass from Frank Lampard, who grabbed the second in first half stoppage time.

Lampard, who is one short of the all-time Chelsea career goal tally by former legend Bobby Tambling, struck home a penalty after Leon Britton had fouled Juan Mata.

The early kick off saw a 0-0 draw between Reading and QPR at the Madejski Stadium, which saw the basement pair relegated.

After a match of few chances, both were left nine points behind fourth bottom Aston Villa and with no mathematical chance of avoiding the drop.

Villa play Sunderland in a crucial relegation battle Monday.

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