Alex Ferguson yesterday criticised his Manchester United team claiming they should have scored "five, six maybe even more" in their 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
But at least the manager could take some comfort from the fact that while he may not have been impressed by his side's ability in front of goal, at least they managed to take all three points on a day when both Chelsea and Manchester City were held by Swansea and West Ham respectively.
In a measure of the gulf Ferguson now feels exists between his club and Arsenal, the United manager said he had "hammered home" the importance of goal difference at the start of the campaign -- after they lost the Premier League title to Manchester City last season on that slimmest of measures -- and described Santi Cazorla's late consolation goal as an "embarrassment" to the score-line.
Inevitably, Robin van Persie scored against his former club and Ferguson applauded the striker's decision not to then celebrate his goal. "He did the right thing," he said of van Persie.
The Arsenal supporters continually barracked van Persie -- who quit the club in the summer in a £24m move to United -- with a series of abusive, tasteless chants aimed at their former captain while also eventually rounding on the club itself. United defender Rio Ferdinand reacted by saying: "He [van Persie] showed his class which is more than what their [Arsenal] fans did."
Ferguson chose to dwell on the narrowness of the score-line and the "casual" performance produced by his team. "We lost on goal difference last season and I don't want that to happen again," he said. "We should have scored five or six or maybe even more than that. I'm disappointed by our inability to hammer home the advantage. I can't believe it, the chances we missed.
"You look at that scoreline and think it was a close game but it wasn't."
Van Persie claimed he did not hear the abuse aimed at him. "They are great fans and I respect them," he said of the Arsenal supporters while adding of his decision not to celebrate his goal: "It speaks for itself. I respect the club, players, manager. That is why. It's my first time that I have played against my former club. It was very special."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was furious at the second-half dismissal of Jack Wilshere by referee Mike Dean.
"I think we were a bit unlucky, especially with the penalty decision, we always have a penalty against us when we play Manchester United, so we get used to it," Wenger said of the spot-kick -- for hand-ball -- that was eventually missed by Wayne Rooney. He added that Wilshere's red was "not deserved".
Sunday Indo Sport