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Van Persie: Can expect fiery reception

Van Persie: Can expect fiery reception

Robin van Persie is set to face Arsenal for the first time since his off-season departure when the London giants travel to Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday.

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The prolific Dutchman joined the Red Devils in a £22million deal in July following his PFA Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year and Golden Boot award-winning campaign for the Gunners last season.

Arsene Wenger has already asked the club's supporters not to give their former hero a hard time this weekend, although they aren't likely to heed their manager's words.

The visitors will also have their 8-2 nightmare defeat at Old Trafford at the beginning of last term hanging over their heads, while they currently find themselves six points behind United and a further one adrift of leaders Chelsea.

Wenger's men have, however, suffered just two league defeats thus far, while their most recent outing saw them come back from 4-0 down to eventually see off Reading 7-5 after extra-time in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

United, meanwhile, saw their League Cup run come to an end 24 hours later as Chelsea turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-4 extra-time win at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side, though, are on a run of three successive league victories, while another three points in Saturday's early kick-off would take them two points clear at the summit as the Blues only face Swansea later that afternoon.

On the team front, Van Persie is likely to start up front, having already bagged seven goals in the top-flight this term to sit joint-second in the scoring charts.

Wayne Rooney should complete a formidable frontline for the hosts, with the pair both having sat out the loss in the capital.

Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick are also set to return after being rested in midweek, but Shinji Kagawa, Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are all still some way off from regaining fitness.

For the visitors, Jack Wilshere is set to start after making his return from a 17-month lay-off in the 1-0 win over QPR last weekend, but Gervinho is out for three weeks after twisting his ankle against the Hoops.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny remains out injured, meaning Vito Mannone is set to continue between the sticks, while Kieran Gibbs and Abou Diaby remain long-term absentees.

Posted: 02/11/12 09:43

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