Manchester United will show Arsenal no mercy on Van Persie's return, fears George Graham

The former double winner believes that the ex-Gunners striker will be determined to mark his first game back at the Emirates Stadium with a match-winning performance

By Russell Stoddart

Former Arsenal manager George Graham fears that a relentless Manchester United will show his former club no mercy on Robin van Persie’s Emirates Stadium return.

The Netherlands striker and his Red Devils team-mates will be afforded a guard of honour after his hat-trick against Aston Villa secured a 20th league title on Monday.

While Van Persie has been rewarded for his big-money move last summer with his first Premier League winner’s medal with four games to spare, Graham expects that there will be no let-up from Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

He told “Although United have wrapped up the league and one or two of their players might think about easing off, it’s going to be as tough as ever for Arsenal.

“Sir Alex will be driven by the prospect of a record points total and he still likes to get one over on Arsenal.”

Other ex-Arsenal stars such as Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor have received hostile receptions on their return to the Emirates and Graham, whose own title-winning team were given a guard of honour by United in 1991, feels that it will no different for the former Feyenoord man, who scored over 100 goals for the Gunners.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that he will get some stick from the Arsenal fans but, sadly, that is just the way it works these days even when great players go back to the club they served so well,” the 68-year-old lamented.

“Arsenal fans absolutely loved him and, although many might deny it, deep down they still love him. What will hurt them is that he’s not just left and won the league with someone else, it’s United.

“Like most great players, he is very ambitious and was frustrated by not winning trophies at Arsenal. He’s put that right straight away, so he will feel he’s made the right decision.

“Whatever happens in the stands, Van Persie will receive a good reception from his former team-mates and that will mean a lot to him.”

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